The latest video from Scottish-based band Storm the Palace is a cinematic triumph. With generous support from Creative Scotland, film-maker Alberto Bravo has produced a genuinely creative and atmospheric visual with a strong sense of narrative – a sinister fairy story that complements the lyrics and feel of the music. The song itself, ‘Some of the Beasts and Birds We Saw’, has the feel of an ancient tale, told through a musical blend of old and new. There are carefully worked changes in pace and intensity alongside moments of stillness, pauses that increase the tension. Bravo cleverly uses the music to inform the video, with those sonic surprises employed to introduce characters and situations as the tale unfolds. Visually and sonically, the song and video are all about contrasts, particularly light and dark, delicate folk and harsher metal and punk influences. In the beginning, birdsong and gentle guitar accompanies the sun bursting through tree branches and we are introduced to a woman who is drawn through beautiful gardens and into a mansion, where the mood changes entirely. By the ending, sinister magic has been used to overpower and transform the men in the tale and all the characters are seated around a table in a darkened room; it’s the stuff of dark fantasy and very effectively done.
Singer Sophie Dodds says of the song: “It may be the most personal track on the album. It’s about friendship, perhaps the friendship between me and [co-writer] Willa. About the many talks we’ve had on our lockdown walks and park drinking sessions, about how we’ve shored each other up in our creative lives despite a constant onslaught of disappointed and indifference.” Of the video, she continues: “The video is essentially a tribute to 80s fantasy films, such as Willow and Legend, except our version has an anarchic feminist twist. The story in the video bounces off the lyrics to the song, rather than relating to them directly, but both tell a tale of friendship and support between two women. There’s a scene in Legend where the princess turns evil (which also echoes Jean Cocteau’s 1946 masterpiece ‘La Belle et La Bête’) and I always felt that she suited that look much better. In our video, the princess turning ‘evil’ is the manifestation of her growing into herself and inheriting her full power. The video was filmed and edited by our drummer, Alberto Bravo, and co-directed by Alberto and myself. The costumes are by Gemma Vanson (whose designs have also been worn by the likes of Skin from Skunk Anansie) and were entirely made from things that we either found, borrowed or bought second-hand. The makeup I did myself. The real star of the video, however, is the house. Its location must remain secret, but I can say that it’s a beautiful, rambling mansion deep in the Cumbrian hills, featuring Georgian, Victorian and Elizabethan architecture, with grounds that include a formal garden, ruins, topiary and an orchard. When the owners said we could have the run of it for a weekend to film a video, it was a dream come true.We are very grateful to them and to Creative Scotland for funding the project. We are releasing an additional version with audio description so that blind and visually impaired audiences can follow the story.”
Though based in Edinburgh, the members of Storm the Palace have come together from across genres and from around the world: The USA, Spain and Scotland. The combination of styles and traditions they bring to their music makes for a fascinating and distinctive sound. The band is also clearly influenced by music from fantasy film, such as Jerry Goldsmith’s score for ‘Legend’ and David Bowie’s soundtrack for ‘Labyrinth’. The single is taken from the new album ‘La Bête Blanche’, the follow-up to 2019’s well-received ‘Delicious Monster’. It’s due for release on 18th November 2022 and is definitely one to watch out for.
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