The video for Youth Lagoon's "July" is like one of Stephen King's short stories come to life. Not like one of the ones about giant rats or haunted hotel rooms. We mean his study pieces on the apocalypse. Something like "Night Surf," in which a group of ordinary teenagers survive a deadly plague, and come to terms with the end of the world.
It starts off as a typical, idyllic day, with "July" playing light and airy over scenes of a summer drive. A young blonde woman and her boyfriends are out of a day of nothing special. Still, there's an uneasiness about the scene. A lot of it is the sinister undertones of Trevor Powers' music.[jump]
Undoubtedly the song is beautiful, with a siren call that stacks up not unlike Taken by Trees, but a graveyard can be beautiful as well. It doesn't change the fact that there is rot and secrets just below sight.
Another harbinger is the washed out, vintage colors that director Tyler T. Williams has shot the video in. It makes the world feel over.
Night falls, and our couple is confronted by a bicyclist that they had mocked while driving earlier. A fight ensues, and the biker suddenly collapses with blood poring from his face, foam from his mouth.
They throw him in the back seat and drive for a phone as the song begins to pick up power. Drums echo in sparse, spaced hits, but each one bears the stab of a psycho's icepick. Powers's voice becomes insistent, and slightly scared.
The cause of the biker's death, as well as the death of the girl's parents and countless people across the globe is a bizarre change in the axis of the moon's orbit that causes massive hemorrhaging in the brain. Bathed in a sickly red color, the hue of infection, the moon rises impossibly close on the horizon, dwarfing the sun and seemingly malevolent.
"July" is a short film of a minor apocalypse. Our heroes drive into the moonrise alive, but bleeding and alone. Sadness consumes the iris of the girl, but guilt swims in the blackness like mudfish.
So much of what happens seems to link back to one brief act of contempt against a stranger. Would the moon have turned from a familiar part of the heavens into a killer without that one almost inconsequential sin? "July" follows the mark at the end of that question from beginning to end, driving off an unknown void to reach the period.
We're looking forward to catching Youth Lagoon when they hit town next month supported by our own Bang Bangz. Until then, check out the video below.
Williams was kind enough to answer some questions about directing "July." Click on over to Page 2 for the interview.