Ivory Seas are a new London band who played their first gig at the Artrocker ‘New Blood Festival’ at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen just last month. The band consists of a standard line up of Vocals, Guitars, Keys, Drums and Bass. Their new single Boundary had been produced by Richard Formby (Wild Beasts/ Egyptian Hip Hop) whom they will be working with again on new tracks in March.
Boundary is an unravelling, hypnotic single and the video made to accompany it highlights these musical attributes. The song opens with two heavily reverberated notes repeated accompanied by a close-up shot of dead leaves hanging from a branch. The lighting interplays with the reverb, lighting images with each new note before shadowing them alongside the fading reverb.
The vocals enter, and each lyric is extended and resonates like a low hum imitated by the patient, twisting image of curling smoke. As the musical lines become denser and the pace more defined so too do the images, introducing new scenes and making quicker and more definite cuts.
The lyrics have a sad truth to them “We go out at night to tend to our delights, to wrestle in sheets, to feel complete.” With this opening line we assume the boundaries referred to here are those that we shake with a few beers on a Saturday night only to wake up feeling as incomplete as ever “This courting game brings pain.”
The video focuses on a few central images such as leaves, a fish in a fish tank, dripping liquid, cigarette smoke and a taxidermy fox. There is a sense of fragility in these images, a return to nature that creates a fascination in the viewer when glimpsing at the most simplistic elements of life, such as the unfurling of smoke and the dripping of water etc. The camera reveals these images to us close up and sometimes out of focus before showing us the image in its entirety from a distance. It is a technique which allows one to scrutinise an uncertain scene before seeing it as it really is. This notion equates itself with the songs lyrical indication that the anonymous “lost pretties from parties” are seen up close “under the dim lamp light” but are not seen as a whole entity. The gradual reveal of images also serves to highlight the unravelling nature of the song. Rather than simply progress and end, Boundary has a sort of cyclical pattern to it as it begins and ends with the reverberated notes, whilst all in between is the extension of lyrics coupled with various tweaks in instrumentation.
One of the most powerful images in the video is one which plays with this slow reveal element of the camerawork I have mentioned. We become accustomed to seeing the body of an animal that revolves but we do not see the full image. Half way through however we are slowly introduced to the animal alongside the lyrics “Lay down our boundaries, our tails between our legs” which seems entirely apt as the taxidermy fox is revolved to face the camera showing an aggressive snarl. This image works extremely well as the video seems to turn slightly more ominous, the fish and fish bowl become, however beautifully, drowned in coloured liquid and the black leaves fall upon a milky white sea that slowly swallows them up.
The video and song work together to delicately portray the transient nature of anonymous, nightly love affairs. The search for yourself in someone else, a search that in this scenario leads only to laid down boundaries, leaving one submissive and open to attack from those who seem tame but as the video suggests can easily swallow you up.
Both the music and images have been skilfully and seamlessly produced and together create an effect that is beautiful, hypnotic, enticing, enigmatic and understated.
Check out The London Music Blog's Gigs and Events page for Ivory Seas' upcoming gigs.