Screaming Females have released a new video for “Hopeless” with a playful, gritty and ironic look reminiscent of the ’90s.
Most of the focus for the video is the alternative trio playing in an abandoned playground which has fallen into disrepair. From dirt-caked seesaws to rusty swings, every disgraced plaything imaginable slides in and out of frame. Set at night, the video further plays off the post-ironic, “kids-that-old-have-no-business-being-in-a-playground” vibe. Strangely, though these tropes all became tired cliches by the end of the ’90s, the band uses them with an endearing earnestness, as if they’re discovering these sardonic symbols for the first time.
With director Lance Bangs on board–who’s worked with such seminal ’90s alternative stars as Sonic Youth, Neutral Milk Hotel, Guided by Voices and Pavement–the alternative boom callbacks were perhaps unavoidable. The doodles that he draws over the film even recall the scratches and cuts that Samuel Bayer rendered on the film negatives of Garbage’s “Stupid Girl” video. (Interesting side note: Garbage and Screaming Females actually teamed up to release a cover of the Patti Smith classic “Because the Night” for a special Record Store Day release.) Again, though, the worries that this is a ripoff will be eclipsed by the sheer fun that both the band and the director are experiencing playing around with these well-established archetypes.
But the true value of the video comes from the song itself, with Marissa Paternoster’s flowing melody and subtle vibrato sucking you in practically from the start. Equally impressive, though, is how the rest of the band builds the arrangement along with Paternoster. Jarrett Daugherty’s drumming is especially worth noting, since it kicks the song into a new gear for the second verse and handles a Ringo-esque fill with grace. Eventually, Paternoster’s vocals double up, and the close harmonies seem to increase the impact of lines like, “I’m not hopeless or helpless or begging you to stay/ It’s just turning out that way.”
Hopeless is off of the newly released Rose Mountain on Don Giovanni. Like previous albums, Rose Mountain has experienced a warm critical and public reception since it’s release this month. Following a pair of Steve Albini-produced albums (2010’s Castle Talk and 2012’s Ugly), Rose Mountain is expected to have a fuller sound in comparison to Albini’s all-or-nothing dynamics.
This is hardly the first song the band has released in support of the new album. Toward the end of last year, the band released “Wishing Well” as a teaser to prime fans. Since December, the band has released at least a song a month starting with “Empty Head”. January saw the release of both the music video “Criminal Image” and the previously unreleased version of the song “It’s Not Fair.”
Along with the new album and new video (which you can watch below), February has seen several show announcements for the band, including their 2015 Spring Tour dates. The band also announced for San Francisco’s Noise Pop Festival, which took place during the last week of February and also featured contemporaries the New Pornographers and Caribou.
Watch the video for “Hopeless” below.