It’s A Mindfuck. Total Head Explosion. Grant Roams Eerie Alien Territories. Each Second There’s Madness, Obscenity, Terror. Here, Everything Radiates Fear, Unease. Cartoon Kallikantzaroi Eviscerate Reality.
It’s Stephen King in song. Childhood distilled into essential sights and sounds and smells. Everyday cautionary tales, neighbourhood characters, the things kids get up to when time is no object and everything can be an adventure, when so many first times are waiting to happen.
Under it all, menace, threats of ultimate violence, the presence of unseen and inevitable evil, the knowledge that the world of older people is certain pain and disillusion, the corruption and betrayal of all the rules they lied and told you when you were young.
Within the song itself, we might get away with thinking this is just that understanding that you come to later in life that you can’t go home again, that the past is visible, not accessible. Coupled with realising that adult life is so much harder, so much more steeped in routine and responsibility and disappointment. But not in the video.
If you listen to the song proper, the longer version of the freaky, nasty, atmospheric intro gives you fair warning of the horrors to come. In the video we’re pretty much straight into it – and there’s no comfort to be drawn from the homemade-lemonade-g-funk of the verse (giving me thrills and chills like the late-summer ghost of Regulate). Because assaulting you from the screen, throughout, are endlessly monstrous, chimeric mutating animations, the visual nightmare of John Grant’s faces ripping themselves apart smile by twisted smile, gangs of wolf boys, a Punch n John Grant show, and the pulsating vibrating patterns that are headache and toothache and migraine put to film.
I’d love it, if I weren’t so scared of it.
The ‘Boy From Michigan’ LP is out on Bella Union on 25 June.