by Sarah Rayner
Experimental indie-pop artist Sean Nicholas Savage returns with another enigmatic aural experience in the form of ‘The Rat’ – the debut single from latest full-length ‘Bermuda Waterfall’ (May 2014, Arbutus Records).
From a pure pop, bouncing beat intro, the Montreal vocalist and songwriter delivers his feather-touch Prince-esque falsetto with poetic lightness that intertwines with delicate jazz inflected piano riffs. Along with their ominous lyrical content ’the rat’s in town…she put her hands around my neck,’ the vocals contrast with the upbeat catchy melodic bass beat: a skilfully stripped back track with simple sounds that play against and enhance one another.
The beauty of the video, as in the sound, is its simplicity. A collaboration with director Angus Borsos (Julia Holter, Braids, Nite Jewel) the video is shot in black and white, and predominantly in a single, unmoving take, featuring a bare footed and bare chested Savage in hypnotic theatrical form. The shadowy greys and crumbling alleyway backdrop is an unsettling contrast with the upbeat sunny pop beat, and playful piano riffs. It is in playing with opposites that creates the single and video’s unsettling yet poetically captivating feel.