Pine Barons’ new “Poltergeist”-inspired video features three of my favorite horror tropes: foreboding TV static, foreboding yarn dolls, and a foreboding candelabra. Co-directed by Braden Lawrence and Alex Beebe, it’s a dark interpretation of the Philly indie rock band’s latest single, “Colette,” which frontman Keith Abrams considers the most optimistic track on their forthcoming LP, Mirage on the Meadow.
“‘Colette’ is the last song I wrote for Mirage on the Meadow,” Abrams tells American Songwriter of the track, which premieres below with the aforementioned video. “Looking back, ‘Colette’ feels like a response to the rest of the songs on the album. It wasn’t initially intended for this record, because it was written in a separate chapter of my life. But I think it was ultimately the missing link. Or like a bridge to something new and fresh for me. To me, it’s the most optimistic of all the songs on the record.”
The track opens with a fluttering mellotron hook that builds for almost a minute. Whirling synths propel the song forward as Abrams’ vocals become more and more impassioned. The first lines out of Abrams’ mouth don’t exactly scream optimism (“You built a house out of sand / it fell apart through your hands”), but the flute-like mellotron riffs beneath them keep the song light. Overall it’s an entrancing first glimpse of the band’s sophomore record.
“I made the structure for ‘Colette’ by chopping up a voice memo of [guitarist / organist] Brad [Pulley] and I playing an organ together at band practice,” Abrams says of the song’s conception. “From there, the rest just spilled out naturally, and without much thought.”
Abrams may have subconsciously derived the track’s title from “Les Miserables,” though he isn’t definitive on the matter.
“The name ‘Colette’ just came out with the timbre of the melody I was writing,” he says. “‘I Dreamed A Dream’ is one of my favorite songs, sung by Fantine, the mother of the character Cosette in ‘Les Miserables.’ During the era of writing this record, I had probably listened to it hundreds of times, sometimes on repeat for hours. I wanted it to fail to move me, just once.”
The video—which was partially inspired by the “Poltergeist” films and Ari Aster’s 2018 film “Hereditary”—captures a haunted dollhouse going up in flames just as Abrams delivers an emotional outro.
“Colette” is Pine Barons’ first single of 2020 following a pair of tracks—“Clique Bait” and “Keeping Off The Road”—released last January. Mirage on the Meadow comes after the Philly band’s 2017 debut LP, The Acchin Book. In addition to Abrams and Pulley, the self-described “telepathic psych-rock” five-piece is rounded out by Beebe on mellotron and organ, James Tierney on bass, and Alex Held on drums (Abrams contributes guitar, synth, and mellotron on top of his singing and songwriting duties).
For Abrams, “Colette” counters some of the darker parts of Mirage on the Meadow. “I think the record, as a whole, brings about themes of feeling like you’re running out of time, longing for love, and being afraid of death,” he says. “But ‘Colette’ sort of feels free from these sorts of things, and is maybe more enlightened.” Check out the track and video below.
“Colette” is out May 12 via Grind Select. Mirage on the Meadow is out later this year.