February 2, 2021
Is your reality worth living in? This ominous, yet intriguing question beckons all in the latest bizarre music video from Charlotte psych synth-rock duo, The Wormholes, for their single “Temporary Vessel.” The project was produced by Joyride Productions and shot by cinematographer Justin Smith, who worked with the band to develop the unconventional concept. Even for fans of The Wormholes, this is an exercise in the unorthodox. For new listeners, it’s a warp-drive thrust into the ethos of the band– an examination of autonomy and the futility of our reality at-large, conveyed through a visual medium with a fascinating narrative to back it up.
In the video, “Why bother with a world you hate?” is a foreboding question that comes to us in a pamphlet for a friendly neighborhood cult, Jambus. The group has rooted itself in the everyday life of our main character as he struggles to break free of his mundane existence. A slave to his phone and surrounded by fellow screen-zombies, our lead soon takes drastic action to break the shackles of purposelessness by finding a miraculous device that will relieve him of pain. After seeing a neighbor use the device and be whisked away to paradise by a purple van full of followers, the temptation is too great. The lead actor jams his device into his forehead and… no purple van. The device fails and, after a second attempt, the main character is left only with a corpse to dispose of.
Cast back into the mercilessness of reality, the lead trudges forth, finally free of his screen but finding commonality only with another forsaken follower of Jambus, marked with a similar forehead bandage to cover the scar of failure.
It’s a strange music video to say the least, and even stranger (or more serendipitous) is the origin of the concept. Band member Chris Walters developed the idea as a short film several years ago but, after writing “Temporary Vessel,” the thematic similarity was too good to pass up. Thus, the two projects were merged.
While narratives in music videos aren’t always the most engaging, this video serves as an exception. With every turn in the story, the viewer is further captivated, all the while entranced by the hypnotizing tunes of “Temporary Vessel” in the background. The story’s action and general theme fit brilliantly with the lyrics, and the look of the video feels earnest and true to the narrative: a drab, bleak surroundings befitting of the journey. Shot between NoDa, University, and Badin Lake, every sequence channels a different energy of the single, from the dull and lifeless to the dangerous and sinister.
The Wormholes have always existed as a group with an ethereal, stranger-than-fiction presence, and this video has pushed their boundaries from eccentric to outlandish, taking their entire creative spirit to the next level of perplexing engagement.
Watch the music video for “Temporary Vessel” by The Wormholes, produced by Joyride Productions and shot by Justin Smith. Look out for the release of the new album Light in the Dark by The Wormholes later this year.