WORLD PREMIERE TODAY
It’s been a year since we last heard from Von Strantz. A long year.
If you’re wondering where they’ve been, and especially what’s taken this normally prolific duo so long to release new music, their new single/video bundle “Rebel Heart” will answer all of your questions… and some you would never dare to ask.
The video, directed by Sam Morse, makes copious use of two of the medium’s most urgent metaphors – running and driving – and adds a curious twist – as it’s the pink-haired and increasingly disheveled Jess Von Strantz that’s doing both the running and most of the driving. Von Strantz isn’t playing roles, though – it’s soon made clear that this has been their real lives. They have chased themselves down and now seem ready to expose their truth.
Soul baring has long been at the heart of Von Strantz music, but this… this is darker meatier stuff. And where last year’s “Through the Looking Glass” was a long gestated treatise on the pitfalls and hopefulness of love, “Rebel Heart” raises the spectre of the prospect of love born out of the ultimate bummer.
For a song that STARTS with the line “If I could I’d bring you back from the dead,” its narrative somehow and quite mercilessly goes downhill from there. Backed by a deceptively upbeat and cinematic alt-pop arrangement, “Rebel Heart” clues us in as to where Von Strantz has been. They re-located to Atlanta last year, and in the process of introducing themselves to a new community, Jess and Kelsey Von Strantz had some heavy psychic baggage to shed. And Morse’s video, in its starkness and at times twist-in-your-seat imagery, takes you for the darkest ride of this band’s life.
All of this comes wrapped in Von Strantz’s signature harmonies, sweeping arpeggios, and pulsating bass and drums. And then, there’s the words. Jess Strantz’s lyrics have always included some enigmatic propositions. She’s becoming a more mysterious songwriter as she matures. She can knock off lines like “you left this rebel heart behind” and pair them with “my love grows stronger” before you even realize she’s not talking about a lover who simply walked out the door. Tired clichés are not really this band’s thing.
It has indeed been a dark year for Von Strantz. But if the video for “Rebel Heart” is any indicator of their current state of mind, they seem to have found their people and their place, but not without sacrifice. They’ve gotten dirty, even bloody. And in ways that are all too real, Von Strantz has buried its dead.
Rebel Heart releases on May 13. – MP Cavalier