Backseat Mafia is very honoured to premiere today the phenomenal new video by Italian band Unruly Girls. ‘Black Love’ is off their recently released album ‘Epidemic’ – an album I rated a 9.1 out of 10 – and is a typically unhinged, anarchic and thundering production, yet is antithetically tinged with a sense of poignancy.
Just like Unruly Girls’s oeuvre in general, there is a structured chaos to the song and the video, an anarchic approach that is steeped in melody above dirty bass and guitars – it’s filthy, it’s gritty and it’s so much fun. As I wrote in my review of the album, ‘Black Love’ has the electronic vocal pulse of Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy’ but with gritted teeth and an indie guitar-band brashness. Distorted guitar and electronic pulse never mixed quite so well.
The fuzziness in sound and vision, the nervy shots and the trembling focus instils a sense of violence, uncertainty and anger, yet the driving, chopping cuts of past live performances emphasise a sense of nostalgia.
Singer/guitarist Humbert Alison (a somewhat tongue-in-cheek pseudonym of the incredibly talented Luca Zotti) shot and put together the video which bursts into play with old footage and new shots – like the song itself a little blurry, a little frenetic but capturing the very essence of the band. ‘Black Love’ is actually a cover of an artist greatly admired by Alison – Edinburgh resident Johnny Jay – and the video pays tribute to his great influence.
‘Black Love’ is a sort of romantic celebration of the first band I ever joined called “Johnny Gray and The Mirrors” from 2006 to 2010. ‘Black Love’ was originally written by Johnny Jay (currently in Forever Alien) the band’s frontman. He is a real friend and has a real creative mind.
I decided to honour my powerful rock n roll experience as part of this fantastic band, linking these frames jumping from the past to the present in my life. You can see a person watching a screen: it’s Luigi (Limongelli – the other half of Unruly Girls) watching my life go past on TV. Luigi is to me the connecting glue of my past and present projected to the future.
Of the production of the video, Alison says:
We love to make dirty lo fi video. Some shots were made in 2007 by Gianluca Pirozzolo (bass player) other shots were made by Simona Lonardo during this current period of quarantine. The has been edited by Simona and myself.
Alison pays particular tribute to Lonardo, noting she edited the video and contributed to the iconic striking punky graphics used by the band.
And indeed the video is certainly eye-catching in its dynamism and movement, capturing Alison’s almost sentimental celebration of his own personal development and growth through music:
More than three years ago in Backseat Mafia I noted the phenomenal music scene in Italy (and, indeed, read the recent series in Backseat Mafia of Italian psych bands that covers some of this scene). Bands like Stella Diana and Varanasi (fka Japan Suicide) and of course Unruly Girls (which grew out of Sweet Jane and Claire) provide a remarkable touchstone to the future of indie rock’n’roll in that country.
You can support this important band by getting the album though the link below