Let’s get to the point – Jonathan Bree’s new video for “Say You Love Me Too” (feat. Clara Viñals) is pitch perfect. Self-directed, with a level of proficiency we’ve come to expect from Bree, this live performance piece quietly reshapes the experience of watching artists make music.
Stripped of identity the band are faceless, featureless shapes, (Bree has used these masks before) but still the best-looking shapes you’ve seen in a video this week. Nylon wigs, and heavily stylized wardrobes echo the early films of Alain Delon. The gently-popping bass-line could well be the measure of a car ride around St. Tropez, but this ride happens somewhere back in time where abrasion was delivered, not by fists, but with a sternly raised eyebrow.
Bree will be known to many as one of the driving forces of The Brunettes, the upbeat twee-pop band that presented some lighter moments on the Subpop label. He’s also a collaborator and friend to Princess Chelsea. In fact, Monkey, from Princess Chelsea’s ”Monkey Eats Bananas” is the only one in the room to show her face in this new video.
Like Princess Chelsea’s work, there’s a degree of self-consciousness about Bree’s approach to craft – once again donning the faceless persona and carefully measuring his stance as a new posture is assumed in preparation for a second solo album. But (Just like the always-fun Princess Chelsea) this stuff doesn’t fall over in self-seriousness or anything as shitty as pretense.
Simmering beneath all of this, much like the work of Serge Gainsbourg, (whose scent hovers in the studio above Bree’s drumkit) there’s a lightness of touch, and the very real atmosphere of fun that’s being had.
Clara Viñals’ vocal work brings a nice theatric accent. The Catalan singer contrasts against the Kiwi deadpan with moments of crackle and passion, breathing at the edges. It’s a beautiful thing.
Despite the theatric setting of the piece, there’s a nice bit of suspense in the music. Calling back to Roy Budd’s “Get Carter” theme the pace of this thing suggests something’s happening, but something more is about to happen. What will it be? This shit may possibly be the best soundtrack to the best weekend. Y’know, if you like wearing nylon and smoking pipes in doorways, whilst someone pours a Cinzano.
It’s good that Jonathan Bree is back. He’s one of those artists evolving on his own branch, long may he ignore anyone who promises him anything different.
For “Say You Love Me Too” (feat. Clara Viñas) we award Jonathan Bree a lemon-sherbet and grapefruit cravat tied in the most precise of knots. Saluté!
HURRY – LISTEN – JONATHAN BREE