2017 was a big year for local piano-driven garage rockers Wreck Loose. They released their first full-length album, the fantastic OK, Wreck Loose; opened for Foxygen at Mr. Smalls Theatre; and completed multiple multi-state tours. It’s fitting, then, that they’re starting 2018 with another significant accomplishment: a brand-new music video for the contemplative OKWL track “Carwash.”
Like their previous video for the frenetic song “Heart’s Been Broken,” “Carwash” was directed and edited by the band’s drummer, Derek Krystek. And once again, he demonstrates an understanding of the vibe that draws so many people to Wreck Loose’s music: warm, thoughtful, and intimate, with no unwarranted flashiness or frills.
The video is a single, continuous shot of lead singer/pianist Max Somerville, standing alone in front of a blank white screen. He sings along to the song, while a montage of scenic footage is projected onto both him and the screen: plants, statues, buildings, bridges, tunnels, houses, vistas, and more. Some shots are instantly recognizable Pittsburgh landmarks, like the locks on Schenley Park bridge, while others are less specific. The video is bookended and interspersed with flashes of TV static as well. Krystek (with the help of camera operator Jessica Mann) shot the footage himself on an old-fashioned, VHS-quality camera, making the montage look like it’s at least a couple of decades old. This homey, nostalgic feel is a spot-on match for the classic influences which drive Wreck Loose’s sound.
Somerville wears a plain white button-down shirt, which further integrates him into the projected scenes. The song is vulnerable, a confession, and that’s well-represented visually—no other band members, no distracting instruments, and never a glance directly into the camera. He looks around while he sings, occasionally moving slowly around the frame, seemingly lost in his own thoughts and the emotions of the song. Sometimes his back is turned, and sometimes his face is in shadow due to the light/dark balance of the projected shot. This reflects the conflict described in the song’s chorus (“And when I see something beautiful/I just wanna tell someone…I don’t wanna think twice about it.”) The speaker longs for open and honest connection, but can’t quite get there, and feels a bit ashamed about both the strength of this desire and his worry that it may never happen. Somerville, together with Krystek’s visuals, conveys this struggle with nuance and authenticity.
My personal favorite moment happens in one of the video’s final scenes. It features a line of four birds flying, seemingly from Somerville’s chest, out the top of his head, and then across the screen. This is timed perfectly with the repetition of the song’s last lyric, “I don’t wanna think twice about it,” and its instrumental conclusion. It’s a touching ending: one that gives some sense of acceptance, closure, and freedom gained by articulating this internal conflict.
See for yourself: check out the music video below, or by clicking here. Wreck Loose’s next show will be at Spirit for the Sound Scene Express Best of 2017 Awards Show on February 17th: see the event here. They play again on March 24th with The Buckle Downs and Tracksploitation – find more details on that here.