The London Music Blog's Video of the Week
Capitals: Ode to an End
Capitals are an Edinburgh based twosome consisting of Angus Carbarns (ex The Cinematics and Theatre Fall) and Keir McCulloch (ex Araya, Benbecula Records). Ahead of their March 12th release of double A side single; Jealousy/Sinking Ships, they have revealed a new video for the unreleased track Ode to an End. The single is a temporary departure from their more familiar rhythmic, electronic sound, in favour of a stripped back, raw approach.
The video consists of footage filmed by Carbarns during the bands 2011 tour and is accompanied by the description “A video of hazy memories, made for a song about memories”. The amateur, hand held, home-video style filming gives the video a rawness and simplicity that echoes the song.
A simple rhythmic acoustic guitar riff is accompanied by a vague, synth melody that weaves its way in and out of the song. This meandering, distant melody heightens the nostalgic element that this video and song rely heavily on.
The images are manipulated nicely; most images are slowed down, which in the context gives this sense of capturing escaped moments. The fact that these moments are rather banal allows the sentiment to reign through. It is these little moments which indicate the importance of the people in the video, which is dedicated by the band to friends and family.
The out-the-window shots of travelling through different landscapes create a beautiful, if melancholy atmosphere. The camera does not document linearly, rather it pastes together disconnected images in a dreamlike recollection. The “tour video” concept is one that Flo Rida is currently exhausting. It is entertaining to see two entirely different approaches to the genre. The seizure-speed cuts depicting the jet-setting, apparently hangover-impervious life of Flo Rida, versus the Capitals' muted, melancholy nostalgia. I certainly know which one is more realistic. I also find myself thinking of The Smashing Pumpkins video for 1979 which adopts an analogous amateur style coupled with a similar representation of the fragmented, fragile nature of nostalgia.
Lyrically the song can be difficult to understand at times, however the words “I’m lost in grey clouds” and “I hope this is me for a long time” make the song quite personal and self explorative. The vocal tone is mellow and the words are fluid in nature flowing into each other. This vocal lends itself to the out of focus visuals, creating those “hazy memories” the band mention. The backing vocals, overdubbed guitar and bass-heavy drums merge in and out of the song creating variation in the overall piece.
Ode to an End as a video and a song is simultaneously out of focus, in a good way. It is a dreamy, improvisatory journey which creates an atmosphere of movement, yet makes us aware of our own stasis regardless. Within the personal lyrics there is knowledge of oneself, something which no amount of distance will change. It also highlights the transitory and our incapability to grasp what has passed, leading to the celebratory but often melancholy sensation of nostalgia.