When a solo artist or a band wants to make a big statement, there really isn’t a better way than to make a video. Music videos are too often dismissed as afterthoughts that only come as a result of a single’s success. The reality is much more complicated than that; for some musicians, recording a song isn’t enough of a gesture to fully express what they’re trying to say in lyrics and music. Oberon Rose created a sonically calculated juggernaut in the single “No Stranger,” but in its associated music video they take the colorful, space age concept of the song to a whole other level of postmodernity. Through this we get a little closer to the band’s creative center and see why critics around the country can’t stop talking about their material.
There are a lot of different ways to interpret “No Stranger,” but I found the secret to its charming allure traceable to singer/guitarist Tommy Oberon’s careful management of the tempo. He plays into Mike Keyes’ beat like he’s following a carefully carved out trail, but when we start to pile on the intensity of the breakneck riffing it becomes clear who’s really in charge of this band’s sound. Oberon dexterously finagles his way into the forefront of the song both in the video and the single like a drop of rain navigating the atmosphere between the heavens and earth, and in the process he reawakens the energy of the classic power trio format that was so perfectly championed by Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Like the other songs on Tell Me, “No Stranger” is an imagistic power anthem of white noise, punkish rebellion and a bushy melodic pop, and I think it deserves a live show worthy of its ethereal nature. The music video for “No Stanger” gives us a glimpse into the otherworldly frame of mind the band cultivates their music in; the next step is bringing that state onto the stage where everyone can embrace its physicality at full capacity. While I’m unsure if the band will be able to create the same rainbow like backdrop employed in the video in a live setting, there’s plenty of reason to believe that a group that could imagine a video as ambitiously original as this one could easily find a way to match it on tour.
“No Stranger” is my nominee for music video of the year not only because it’s the most pleasing to the eye but because it lives up to the divinely strange landscape created by the original single itself. Few artists can fully realize their vision for a visual project, but my gut tells me that Oberon Rose got everything they were looking to achieve out of the production of this epic piece, and hopefully it won’t be the only video they cut from Tell Me All About It. No matter what their next release is I plan to be writing about it, because like any other journalist in this grand game of the entertainment business, I never like missing out on something momentous (particularly when it’s just getting interesting).