First Look: UNKLE’s Saviours and Angels

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Published July 15, 2010


British musical outfit UNKLE has always appreciated the power of a strong image. The duo, which is known for working with a myriad of producers and an eclectic lineup of vocalists, got their start working with modern hip-hop legend DJ Shadow. But it was the video for 1998’s “Rabbit in Your Headlights,” which featured Thom Yorke and arresting scenes of a mad man getting pummeled by British traffic, that pushed them into the spotlight. After the “Rabbit” video made its way through the web, Spike Jonze used the group to score his high-def, genre-bending skateboard video Heaven. Subsequently, the band decided to take advantage of the cinematic possibilities of their music, releasing Edit Music for a Film, which was chock full of movie themes and sound bites, and 2008’s End Titles… Stories For Film, which documented UNKLE’s audio-visual collaborations.

So when up-and-coming director Paul Andrew Williams asked UNKLE to score his film, Cherry Tree Lane, the band’s originating member, James Lavelle, jumped at the chance. In return, Williams was asked to direct three videos for UNKLE’s fourth studio album, Where Did the Night Fall. The trilogy, called “Saviours and Angels,” uses UNKLE’s ruminating, down-tempo electronic beats to tell a story of a Romanian couple trying to survive in Britain. Though the first, Caged Bird (which features Celebration’s lovely Katrina Ford), has more of a narrative than the second and third films. (Of course, unless you speak Romanian, you’ll experience the plot through the couple’s terrified looks and the sad, driving music). The second addition, The Runaway, demonstrates the danger and fragility of sex. They wrap things up with the psychedelic, somewhat frightening Another Night Out, which includes vocals from Queens of the Stone Age’s Mark Lanegan.