There is a huge and vast distance between the Australian bushfires of early 2019 and the icy mountain tops of Austria, but Ro Bergman has produced the most elegant link in the themes of his new song ‘Animal’ and in the aching beauty of the accompanying video.
The lyrics were inspired by the undeniable linkage between climate change and the brutality of the fires downunder, but given additional resonance by the helplessness and sense of isolation caused by the lockdowns that circled the world as it dealt with the pandemic:
The ice is melting / times are changing / woods are burning / and I’m in between
‘Animal’ is a treatise on the interaction between nature and humanity, beautifully and poignantly expressed. A quiet reflective acoustic beginning slowly builds with echoes of trumpets and whispers in the distance before reaching a crescendo. Berman has an exquisite voice – it starts with a whisper before launching into an expressive cry accompanied by a growing layers of music. There is a mix of REM with Radiohead, echoes and hints of other indie giants such as Arcade Fire and even Sigur Ros with the emotion and euphoria, but ultimately Bergman’s music has an unique and engaging sound of its own.
The accompanying video is stunning – literally a cinematic masterpiece filmed high in the Austrian mountains with dancers from the Vienna State Opera on top of a snow-covered glacier plateau, 8000 feet above sea-level. Isolation and grace with an ominous sense of the vulnerability of the wild glacial environment:
Absolutely gorgeous music and scenery with a sobering message.
Feature Photograph: Peter Rigaud