Austin's singer-songwriter darling Aimee Bobruk will be in town at Anderson Fair this weekend, and to herald her arrival, she recently recorded a fantastic music video for her tune "Two of a Kind." It's a simple yet fetching throwback to the days of silent film, with Bobruk playing both her feminine side as a flapper and a dapper gentleman in the vein of Charlie Chaplin.
The pair ape for the camera, trading affectations across a split screen that both enables communication and very definitively keeps them apart. It's a basic trick, but it brings the fractured nature of the song itself right to life.
Bobruk says she had originally conceived "Two of a Kind" as a traditional duet, but during the recording she and producer Brian Beattie began toying with arranging the song for two voices They decided to use an earlier demo of hers with heavy vibrato against a newly recorded studio take, instead of bringing in a different singer, and even built two separate drum kits to further differentiate parts of the song.
"There is clearly a desperateness expressed in the vocals, a wavering, a vulnerability. But the bridge gives it all away," says Bobruk. "'If roses and chocolates are given of obligation, just beware it's not a pretty pair.' The song's cowriter of this song, Jon Notarthomas, wrote the bridge. We were in a very long relationship.
"As he might put it, 'bittersweet," continues Bobruk. "That must have seeped through somehow. Things like that always do. I've always been more drawn towards narratives that reveal layers. Someone can look one way on the outside, but then you hear a complete contradictory dialogue on the inside. We are strange creatures."
Having seriously studied acting at one point, and being drawn to the early days of film, Bobruk thought crafting a music video cued by the silent-film era would be deliciously ironic. Luckily, she has the amazing physical ability to carry off both performances without resorting to simply lip-syncing to her performance. It's a daring move, and one that really allows "Two of a Kind" to stand out.
Though there's a lot of clichéd tropes from the '20s era, Bobruk manages a special kind of modern indie-film sensibility. Her lovers are awkward, full of quirks and tiny misunderstandings the way John Cusack and Zooey Deschanel always seem to be. It turns what could be a simple caricature into an honest, if slightly naïve, love story.
It must be confessed that Bobruk as a slickly dressed drag king is something you definitely want to see. She's cute as a flapper, don't get me wrong, but she cuts a really dashing figure in a pencil-thin mustache and shirt sleeves.
"I do have to say that it gave me a new experience being a dressed as a '20s flapper for six hours in the day and then a gentleman for another six hours at night," says Bobruk. "I had fun. I went to the Continental Club afterwards and everyone called me Charlie.
"They got the mustache wrong though... Charlie had the Hitler straight 'stache and I had the broken 'stache... I laughed," she adds. "But Austin is weird anyway, so I probably didn't come off as too strange."
Check out "Two of a Kind" below.
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Aimee Bobruk performs with Johnny Goudie Saturday at Anderson Fair, 2007 Grant.