Track: Puppy unveil the thundering ‘Angel’: dark themes, scuzzy guitars married with celestial vocals

London-based trio Puppy have just released a stunning single with video entitled ‘Angel’ that fuses a thundering Smashing Pumpkins spine to a framework of sparkling Beach Boys harmonies. The dark themes that pervade the lyrics add another gothic dimension to this layer of contradictions, and creates a whole that is immeasurably satisfying and quite unique.

The band amusingly detail their intentions behind the song:

During 2020 we focused on trying to write the best album the world had ever heard. Our goal for this first single was to combine the power of ‘November Rain’, ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘Can You Stand the Rain’ times 1000. I think you’ll all agree that we massively succeeded.

They have certainly created something distinctive and inherently powerful. The vocals are sweet and melancholy with an angelic chorus floating over the brutalist pummelling guitars. Very cathartic. The lyrics reveal a sense of humour intertwined amongst the gothic imagery:

Angel, kicking up dust
Angel, of torturous lust
Angel, let me go back to a place where I never knew heaven

I curse your family name to the grave
I curse your family name to the grave

The band’s sense of dark humour flows though the accompanying video.

We at Puppy have always wanted to incorporate the world of gaming into what we do. With the video for our new single ‘Angel’, we all felt that the time was right to branch out into the world on technology. When our initial proposal for a fully immersive Oculus Rift sci-fi fantasy in which our topless avatars do battle with intergalactic warlords was dismissed as ‘really expensive’ and ‘not at all believable’, we quickly suggested a Final Fantasy style concept in which incredibly muscular versions of ourselves went on quests and solved puzzles with giant axes. This was also apparently ‘a terrible idea’.

Our next approach involved a physically interactive training pod module in the style of Michael Jackson’s Space Scramble Training, in which we’d guide players on a perilous mission to Uranus. Our label threatened to drop us when we sent over the treatment. And so, we moved back, one console at a time, between operating systems and decades, until we arrived at the 8-bit capabilities of the NES, the only graphics system simple and cheap enough for us to try and imitate by ourselves. The result is our new video for ‘Angel’, a (not at all) immersive 8-bit gothic fantasy designed and animated by us with love and affection. We hope you enjoy.

There is a delicious irreverence in the band’s approach that bleeds into the compelling video:

‘Angel’ is released through Rude Records and is available to download/stream here or through the link below:

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