words by Chance Solem-Pfeifer
When I wrote about HERS’ last music video release, “Hold It Together,” earlier this year, I called them a pop band. This was probably more true when the ensemble was Omaha’s Honeybee and Hers years ago. The distortion, utter self-possession and confusion projected by “Please” defies that category now.
For two short verses of their new release, “Please,” you can hear HERS’ Melissa Amstutz singing unobscured. Then comes a doubling up of hazy voices that provide a sort of psychological dissonance: a play on the most traditional Grecian call-and-response choruses descending into schizophrenia.
The video for “Please” premiered yesterday on Bust.com. The song will appear on HERS’ forthcoming, AJ Mogis-produced LP Youth Revisited. And the album from the once-Omaha-now-Portland-based band will be released on June 3.
From Amy Carlberg’s writing yesterday, we learn the song and the album come packaged as an expression from Amstutz (in part) about coming out after growing up in a religious, military family. Carlberg keenly identifies the video for its take on gender performance, that in donning a wig, ruby lipstick and heart-shaped sunglasses, Amstutz comments on feminine gender construction with its most cartoonish trappings. We could add that the menace of those trappings — when they’re used societally to connote womanhood — is looming in the maelstrom of the music.
Amstutz’s movements in the video seem to brandish both the alluring theater and personal difficulty of that performance. It doesn’t seem like an accident that even in the grips of stunted, but languid, acrobatics, Amstutz holds the wig onto her head, forming a right angle with her arm that’s both ergonomically vogue and implicitly nervous of letting the platinum blonde hair fall into the dirt.
Watch the video for “Please,” directed by Lindsay Trapnell, here:
Chance Solem-Pfeifer is Hear Nebraska’s managing editor. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.