SEE: The short film for Big Ideas’ ‘American Dream’: rolling with the punches as society is riven

Photograph by Ben Lankester

TENNESSEE-born Nathan Nicholson and Londoner Adam Harrison may be better known to readers as members of widescreen alt.rock outfit The Boxer Rebellion, responsible for big-hearted tunes such as “Diamonds”.

Now the duo are embarking on a new chapter in collaboration with writer, director and photographer Ben Lankester to launch a new multi-disciplinary and creative three-piece, taking their name as a two-word manifesto for the way they hope to tackle subjects across the artforms: Big Ideas.

They’re poised to release their three-song debut EP, The American Dream, on Absentee Recordings. And they’ve just unveiled the short film to accompany the title track; like Springsteen’s “Born In The USA”, peeling back the myth to look underneath at the reality of the Great American Dream.

The EP explores the trio’s responses to the current state of the world across its three tracks: themes of hope, grief and rebirth feature heavily.

The lead track draws heavily from intelligent rock from across the decades. I’m getting little touches of mid-period James, in those highlife guitars; widescreen rock such as Pat Benatar and Don Henley in that big, effortless sweep.

It was mixed by Billy Bush, who’s worked with Garbage, Fink, Ash, et al; and that sax solo comes courtesy none other than Johnny Colla, of Huey Lewis and the News.

It’s a song, reportedly, about mislaid patriotism and the great potential in us all, for which Ben Lankester created the accompanying short film that you can watch, below; he views the current state of that great dream through the microcosm of an aspiring boxer trying to make a break in a society riven by poverty, populism and the 2020 plague, the ‘rona.

Nathan and Adam say: “Whilst writing, we had the idea for a song that commented on two realities that exist in the world today. ‘The American Dream’ embodies that drive to improve life for the individual – on the surface, easy to understand … like our song. But that short sightedness ignores challenges that can only be solved as a collective.

“The dream you’re sold isn’t always the reality you end up paying for.”

Ben added: “What I relished about the challenge of creating the video for ’The American Dream’ was the dichotomy between the seemingly breezy surface of the song and the very contemporary dystopian themes running almost hidden underneath.

“Could we push this dark narrative concept as far as we could whilst ensuring the film always worked in service to the music? This was the challenge that was a pleasure to tackle head on.”

Big Ideas aim to release their work as a series of EPs, each led by a quality film. Stay tuned.

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