words by tom johnson
photography by Cam Whaley
In many ways, “Crocus“, the new single from The Ophelias, sounds like a closing-track, a somewhat wistful sigh, an appendage to something trying to be being moved away from. That it’s actually the opening song of the band’s new album speaks volumes, setting the tone for a record that wears its heavy heart openly and proudly, and a song that also redefines their sound with sweeping, sentimental power.
“An old friend said that the first song on an album should be an overture, a thesis statement, a prologue,” Spencer Peppet, the band’s singer and guitarist says. “Crocus the album wasn’t written in order, but the line “I hope that you are happier now/ but I hope that you dream of me” became a throughline. My life has changed since this song was written, but reflecting on the past can sometimes offer clarity. I’m asking, was this relationship as meaningful and important for you as it was for me?”
The follow-up to their 2018 debut album, Almost, which itself was a ribbon-bowed collection of all the college-written demos they’d written up to that point, Crocus, the album feels like a significant leap forward. Each member has graduated from college in the time since that first record, and they’re also now a solid four-piece, with longtime video collaborator Jo Shaffer joining on bass.
The new album is still, at times, lovably scrappy, bristling with the earnest guitar-pop tied to their initial arrival but there’s more at play here too, a maturation perhaps, an underlining of their more experimental flourishes. There’s also a significant dose of tenderness that is more than happy to hold its own, such as that found on the album’s title-track which can be heard for the first time here below via its accompanying video.
“This video centers on light: what the presence or absence of light can do, how it forms around a person, how colors filter and morph,” Peppet says of their new clip. “We got to shoot this in Chicago with Alex Halstead, who shot the videos for Neil Young on High and Sacrificial Lamb, and a crew of immensely talented people. Since this song is very intimate, we decided it made sense for the video to focus on me,” she adds. “We played with movement, choreographing some parts and experimenting in others. Jo, who co-directed, says they focused on how the movement, light, and shadow mirrored the melody line. I also repaired, dyed, and beaded the corset myself!”
Beautifully compelling, the video is a weighty and worthwhile complement to the song – and you can watch it right now ahead of the album’s release on Sept 24th via the brilliant Joyful Noise Recordings. Check it out here:
A MUSIC JOURNAL – ISSUE 9
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