The Devine Xperience – The Answer Music Video Review

Thirty years on I don’t think anybody has worked out the formula for a good music video. Combine elements that seem awful with the right personality and things are great. Combine cool elements with no personality and it’s terrible. Should the band be performing? Should there be a story? Should a giant goblin scream and an old woman and a dog? Nobody knows! It’s kind of exciting, but it’s also difficult to sit through a video and think, “Is that all there is?” at the end. It has to add something to the track without distracting from it, and a good video has made me like more than a few songs I groan at on the radio.

This brings me to The Devine Xperience’s video for “The Answer.” I had to watch it more than once to get into it, which maybe isn’t the best thing for a music video. I’ve been conditioned by years of metal and weird, noisy music to give sounds a second or even a third chance, but a video is still essentially promotional material to me. That isn’t to say that promotional material is devoid of art, or even challenging art, but in most cases it should be immediately inviting and accessible, at least at first.

I’m not sure that the “witch in front of green screen” invites us properly into the leather and rubber clad band performance. It also isn’t circled back to enough to feel like it’s contributing much to the proceedings as a whole. Some of the other decisions are a bit baffling as well. The swinging section feels very much like a cute interlude because someone felt like there needed to be a break. I’m also not a big fan of the spinning headphones. There’s a way and a place to fetishize your gear, but that isn’t it.

A lot of the flowing fractals work quite nicely though. As the rhythm builds the initially cheap feeling green screen effect starts to meld with the flow of the track and draw you in. Little flourishes of performance start to stand out. To see them performing as a group, and clearly enthusiastic about it, dispels some of the anonymity that shrouds electronic music. You also can’t deny the drama of their hair and clothing. It establishes a cohesive visual style for the band that makes them feel like a tight unit, which might be why the witchy, porch swing parts don’t entirely work. They set one member out in front without the clear markers of “frontperson” that a rock band thrives on.

In the end it’s a mostly enjoyable video that enhanced the track for me, and that makes it a success. A surprising number of resources go into even a simple music video, and independent artists have to get creative and keep things cheap. Things don’t get much cheaper than digital effects, and there’s a certain element of laziness to it, but what works, works, and this works, even if it isn’t blowing my mind.

The Devine Experience has also been nominated for “Album of the Year”, “Remix of the Year” and “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” by the International Breakbeat Awards (http://www.breakspoll.com/vote/). You can check out more of their stuff and vote for (or against!) them at that link.

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