Shot in Coney Island, the video for the band’s latest single—off their forthcoming album ‘Liminal Hiss’—”looks at the long term of being an American” and being torn between abandoning your home or sticking around to better it
Let me acknowledge, first, our collective pandemic fatigue. I sigh to myself every time I type out the letters C-O-V-I-D (even though it’s still very much a part of our R-E-A-L-I-T-Y). However, for all the damage COVID wrought, it did provide a well of artistic inspiration—songs, of course, can’t be separated from their circumstances—and due to the nature of the album-making process, music written three years ago are, in many cases, just hitting our ears. And as art is not only a product and record of a period but a time machine that tends to transport us back, it’s powerful to listen to the tracks that for the artist seek to define that time and (re)experience the emotions that they, and we, were grappling with—
And the sad thing is that in many cases, the art feels evergreen. While it’s been three years, in so many ways, things feel like they haven’t changed at all.
“Another Day In the Experiment”—the newest single from the Brooklyn band of “heavy power pop weirdos” Onesie—was inspired by what the frontman Ben Haberland described as “cultural decline during lockdown… a particle accelerator that made it very apparent common sense and basic compassion were in short supply in certain areas.” It’s rooted in what, for many of us, is an ongoing battle: being torn between the urge to abandon this, as described by George Washington, “great experiment” (surely the reference for this song) for greener, seemingly less insane pastures… or, well, stick it out and fight to improve it.
And though—with every right redacted, hateful law enacted and horrific act of violence followed by an online onslaught of hopes and prayers in place of actual policy—we might feel ourselves leaning more towards the former and considering packing our bags to trade the US for Perth (as the song at one point suggests—whether for the city’s actual vibe, the rhythm and rhyme scheme or both), as Ben says, “… this is home, so maybe we can leave it a little better than we found it.”
To accompany the song—which also serves as an ode to Ben’s father, whose yellow Volvo is referenced in the intro and whom he describes as “a classic, intellectual NY democrat”—there’s also a music video, shot by Nate Dorr (who also edited it) in the most unique and certainly most bizarre slice of our city, and perhaps country: Coney Island.
If there’s one spot that contains the full spectrum of humanity, it might be this one. A strange little world that’s equal parts loud, sticky, shiny, grimy, gaudy, joyous, diverse, indulgent, a little dark and unapologetically itself. A microcosm of madness that’s full of squealing children, ancient beach bums, bodybuilding bros, festive freaks and a surprising amount of individuals walking around with reptiles. A place of wonder … and The Wonder Wheel.
Ahead of the release, Ben—who stars alone in this video, wandering the boardwalk and park with his guitar, mostly wearing a hooded robe (even while riding the bumper cars)—shared the following about the experience of shooting the video:
“Someone came up to us on the boardwalk and said ‘What are you- some kind of a guitar wizard?’ That really put me in my place, but Coney is one of the last bastions that feels like the old, dirty, random, wild New York I remember- full of unexpected joy and open heartedness. I don’t even like roller coasters and I get excited every time I’m there.”
“Another Day In the Experiment” is from Onesie’s forthcoming album Liminal Hiss, which drops August 18th on Totally Real Records + Pillow Sail Records + Kool Kat Musik.
Join the band in celebrating the release that night at The Sultan Room with Irrevery and Strange Neighbors! Grab your tickets here.
Feature image (provided by the band): Jen Meller