It takes a minute to recognize that the clocks covered with yarn in Couch Jackets’ new music video “Rocket Quaffle” represent the manipulation (perhaps dismissal) of time. The Arkansas acid rock band’s new single is a thick forest of meaning and imagery, a psychedelic dream in a garage setting that screams “DIY” and “indie,” but also we thought this through far more than you’ll ever know.
Watching: “Rocket Quaffle” – Couch Jackets
Brimming with life and potential energy, “Rocket Quaffle” is a promising musical and spiritual journey from Couch Jackets as the band gear up to release their sophomore EP, Sincerely, Swimtrunks (set for release Saturday, 10/15/2016). Consisting of Brennan Leeds (formerly featured via Atwood Magazine x LiveSyphon), Ben Eslick, Hunter Law, and Zach Gray, Couch Jackets consider themselves an ‘acid rock’ band, in part because “a lot of our theoretical sentiment parallels that of Acid Jazz artists, we’re just a bit more rugged,” explains Leeds.
The shoe fits. “Rocket Quaffle” is organized chaos, to some degree, but one gets the sense that the four piece know exactly where and how each note falls into place. “The act of creation is found within the war between chaos and order,” they write. This is not a song for the faint of heart, but it is also not meant to be scrutinized too closely.
Yet it’s hard not to try one’s hand at deciphering the thought-stream that graces the song’s first half. A warm, echoing guitar plays over tight drums and balmy keys as Leeds sings:
you can’t give a hug without rebound,
bouncing around anxiety bound
for Chinese finger traps wound from
mental gout in your gut that just won’t give it up.
Rode the bluff on the bus
that you don’t give a fuck,
(but I do, but I do, but I do)
by the blunt, some are just more corrupt and
cops don’t always cuff,
sometimes don’t put trust in the government.
Your time turns to rust when you find the fear
thrust inside us.
It’s a wondrous lust,
the golden buzz or the bust.
A little bit of a lot of different, seemingly interrelated and also totally things goes on here, but perhaps the first line is the most important: “Staunch reputation, you can’t give a hug without rebound.” What does it say about a person’s character that he or she cannot bequeath society’s most acceptable, benign form of intimacy unto another, without some form of consequence? Surely it is a character flaw; surely it speaks to deeper troubles.
And how do we interpret the yarn-laden stop motion clocks that characterize this video? Are all these worries taking up some form of precious time, or does time even exist? There’s a rabbit hole one could easily fall into when attempting to define art: The iterations are limitless.
The attempt to decode “Rocket Quaffle” seems all the more futile, considering the history of this song: The concept began when bassist Ben Eslick decided that he wanted to shoot a video idea and write/score the music to it afterward as a full band. Is the song speaking to the video, or is the video meant to be speaking to the song?
The slow, easy-flowing storytelling ends halfway through the song, and with it does the calm nature and easy tempo. Garage mentality takes over as overdriven guitars start to chug towards explosions, wherein the band’s fearless singer belts:
Cynics live inside a lie, they wonder, “why?”
They wonder why we wander by and then we die.
They feel to cry is shy, they wonder, “why?”
They wonder why we’d wander by (we’d live a lie) and then we’d die.
Meanwhile, the video expands the scope of its focus, growing from one clock to several clocks adorning a wall, changing alongside colored paper decorations that ebb and flow with the musical tide. The coordination between music and video is impeccable: The two entites feed off each other through a symbiotic, energy-boosting relationship: Both provide completely different experiences, and together they enhance the overall quality of the song.
There is perhaps no better part of “Rocket Quaffle” than its final moments, where the band members, slick with body paint, make a genuinely fun appearance, each first alone and then together, jumping in unison like they’re in the opening credits of a ’90s television show.
This is Couch Jackets: A band of four close friends making complicated, yet totally down-to-earth music that forces listeners to think, pushing us beyond our comfort zone with non-traditional songwriting styles and clever music videos that you can get, or not get, while still totally enjoying. They truly are here to have a great time, and their music helps spread that joy to all who hear them.
They wonder why we wander by
(we live a lie) and then we die
You don’t know so I don’t, I don’t care
cause you know, you know where my lies go
Meaning runs deep through Couch Jackets’ song, allowing for plenty of opportunity to explore the meaning of life, our purpose, and our time spent on this earth. In the same breath, have fun with it: Try not to overanalyze. Give “Rocket Quaffle” a solid viewing, and don’t miss Couch Jackets’ new EP Sincerely, Swimtrunks, out 10/15/2016!
Watching: “Rocket Quaffle” – Couch Jackets