The Austin-based, gothic-rock band I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness is back on the scene with their sophomore album Dust. The album itself has been generally well-received, but one of its most captivating tracks, ‘You Are Dead To Me’, and the accompanying video are sure to ensnare every listener’s attention.
On its own, the song begins with soft, science fiction-esque beeping, sinister looped instrumentals, and an almost chime-like sound that, by never stopping, makes the listener feel as though they have stepped into a realm where time is ethereally counting down. Vocals don’t enter the track until about a minute in, but even then the ominous voice echoes, leaving the lyrics nearly inaudible and the listeners increasingly unsettled. Soon, around 20 seconds later, a new guitar cracks through the repetitive instrumental eeriness, slicing paths again and again through the chiming and looping to make space for its own mournful cries.
The video for this track is a fantastic complement to the music. It begins with three smiling young women in a wooded area, looking directly down into the slowly crawling camera as it moves toward them, almost as though they are watching the viewer lying on the ground. The camera quality is purposely grainy, and the video features inconsistent lighting, utilizing both over- and under-exposure sporadically for its black-and-white frames. Within the grainy splotches that appear heavily toward the beginning of the video, a skull flashes at a near-subliminal pace.
The women suddenly appear again following the skull, now laughing slightly in silence as flames poke through the black-and-white film they inhabit. They do not seem to notice this, leaving we, the viewers, to wonder if the flame actually exists in the video, or if we are watching a video of actual camera film going across our screens, with the physical copy of the film itself, rather than the world within it, going up in flames. The fire disappears when the women join hands and twirl around, their arms peeling away layers of the wooded background as though it exists only as printed sheets of wallpaper laid one on top of the other.
After several more grainy shots of the wooded area, primarily of trees and of a river, which is the only thing in the video aside from the women that moves on its own, we are reintroduced to the women smiling and spinning. No shot lasts long, though, and we are then shown a short glance of the sun trying and failing to squeeze its light through the shadows of the treetops. In case the viewer hasn’t recognized this up until now, this is a very dark piece, and real light and happiness without unease are hard-pressed to find.
Toward the end of the video, we see again how the spots created by the graininess are used as windows for other images, this time for the smiling women and glimpses of dead trees, juxtaposing what we would normally consider joy (although this joy seems strangely threatening) with death and darkness. The final shot is nearly the same as the opening, with the three women smiling sinisterly and watching the camera as it slowly drifts back from them, with the careful movement of someone quietly attempting to escape a potential attacker.
Both the song and video for ‘You Are Dead To Me’ ooze creepiness in their gothic-rock and quasi-dark-wave musical styling, and in their black-and-white composition. The combination is off-putting, but strangely beautiful despite its disconcertion.
Check the video out at the top of the page, and see more from I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness online at: www.chosendarkness.com.