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The Armoires: “We Absolutely Mean It” (Big Stir Records)

30 May 2024

Photo by M&A

Big Stir Records and The Armoires are proud to present an all-new video for the band’s current single “We Absolutely Mean It”. Masterminded by visual artist Brent Seavers (a terrific singer-songwriter in his own right with his current solo album Exhibit B enjoying widespread success right now), the video for The Armoires’ virtual theme song and manifesto is an Art Nouveau-inspired feast for the eyes, taking pictorial cues from both the lyrics from the band’s forthcoming album and its art design (by Ridley Broome, whose single sleeve art opens the video). The clip sees vocalists Christina Bulbenko (keys) and Rex Broome (guitar), violist Larysa Bulbenko, bassist Clifford Ulrich and drummer John M. Borack, integrated into an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of imagery, evoking the 1890s, the psychedelic ’60s, and the high tech 2020s all at once.

“We Absolutely Mean It” is a mission statement from The Armoires, and it finds them self-mythologizing in a way that’s both knowingly tongue-in-cheek (they do in fact say of themselves “recommended if you like / sunshine pop, college rock and psych”) and completely, sincerely committed to the uniqueness of what they do as a band: “This is not a single point of view, this is a collective,” they proclaim in the singular, ambiguously androgynous mode of address made up in equal parts of Christina and Rex’s intertwined vocals. As a theme song, it’s adjacent to the likes of Devo‘s “Jocko Homo” but inevitably draws comparisons to the opening music for any number of fictional cartoon bands from The Archies to Josie & The Pussycats, and as such lends itself naturally to the animated treatment. However, with the band busy putting the final touches on the new album (produced by Michael Simmons of sparkle*jets u.k.) and Bulbenko and Broome occupied running Big Stir Records, the likelihood of an elaborate art piece as a video had seemed remote until a fortuitous social media exchange. Seavers picks up the tale:

“This all started more than a month ago when I responded to a Facebook post Rex made asking if ‘any active experimental video artists/directors’ in social media land would be interested in making a ‘sorta abstract, unapologetically arty’ music video for a band on the Big Stir label. Having been a fan of many of the artists on Big Stir for years, I jumped at the opportunity.

“When making the video for The Armoires’ new single ‘We Absolutely Mean It’, I was provided a decent amount of inspirational artwork to pull from, all with an Art Nouveau vibe,” Brent continues. “Due to time and talent constraints, I relied heavily on Adobe’s built-in AI assistance to flesh out my rough hand drawn digital artwork. I created keyframes for every 2-3 seconds of video, and then used a few platforms to animate the transitional frames. Initially, I was going to use a classic morphing software tool to transition from one image to another, but seeing as how AI currently has a reputation for failing spectacularly I wanted to see how it would fill in the gaps. Although it took a lot of trial and error wrangling this infantile AI technology to get it to do anything remotely close to what I wanted, the result has a jarring push-pull conflict-driven artistic sense about it that adds to the ‘abstract, unapologetically arty’ vibe I was hoping the Armoires were looking for. It was an enjoyable experience creating something to accompany such a brilliantly written, performed, and produced song and hopefully people will dig it as much as I do.”

The Armoires, responding (as on the song) in one voice, are thrilled with the results. “We’d seen the amazing video Brent put together for his own song ‘Till It’s Over’, but it looked like a staggering amount of work! The most we were expecting from a quick turnaround video for ‘We Absolutely Mean It’ was a curiosity on the level of ,b>R.E.M.‘s ‘Fall On Me’ or The Replacements‘ ‘Bastards Of Young’ – anything demonstrating thoughtfulness beyond a found-footage quickie or stitched-together shots from someone’s phone. That Brent jumped on it and created this astonishing piece instead is nothing short of a dream come true.”

What makes the clip all the more special is that while a first viewing is an eye-popping spectacle, there are also layers beyond what you’ll catch the first time around – things that won’t even take on their full meaning until the band’s album sees release this October. “We’ve been developing an overall aesthetic for the album and all the related singles, based on recurring imagery in the lyrics and our art designer Ridley Broome’s re-imagining of the Art Nouveau style (with particular reverence to the work of Alphonse Mucha). And Brent got right on board with all of that, using his fantastic illustrative skills and a firm understanding of the vibe to throw in callouts – call forwards, even – to imagery from the lyrics of songs that haven’t even been heard yet! That’s why you’re seeing recurring images of black cats, ravens and crows, and snakes (often in the form of the iconic ouroboros)… those are all avatars that stitch the songs on the record together, and it’s so cool to see them here, setting the stage for the songs to come in such a spectacular fashion. They’re little Easter eggs whose roles in the new material will be revealed over time. That’s part of the overall experience we hope to offer as the record gets closer to release, and we’re taking great delight from watching it all be unveiled over time.”

“We Absolutely Mean It” is out on all digital platforms now, and the new full-length album from The Armoires is expected this fall from Big Stir Records. Be sure to visit them on the web:

Big Stir Records


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