Despite its continually changing number of members and its utter refusal to be chained to any single style of music for more than one release, two things Milwaukee’s self-proclaimed “surly high school orchestra” Group Of The Altos execute with consistency are outstanding albums along with imaginative and gorgeous videos for songs on said outstanding albums. Among the extensive and impressive assemblage of animated, Super 8-shot, and downright cinematic music video masterpieces, the crown jewel of the collection to this point is the eight-minute opus “Sing (For Trouble).”
When it came to making the video for “Coplights”—the noisy, emotive outlier and longest offering from last year’s great R U Person Or Not—Altos sought to reach back and recapture the look and feel of “Sing (For Trouble)” by calling on the directorial efforts of frequent collaborator Sean Williamson and members Heather Hass and Shawn Stephany. Williamson calls the near-seven-minute effort (which premiered last night during a special screening event at Transfer Pizzeria) “a prequel of sorts” for the “Sing” video. Like “Sing,” the imagery employed in “Coplights” careens from magnificent to menacing, while melding natural beauty and wonder with cold industrial facades and television static.
Along with the lakeside, aerial shots, and ample warehouse-adjacent imagery, “Coplights” displays Alverno’s Pitman Theatre, a neighborhood fair, the Barnacle Bud’s patio, and splices in pictures from band members’ childhoods. Williamson says the video was the product of procrastinating on and off for more than a year. Given the end result, though, it seems like the procrastination paid off in the form of yet another wonderful Group Of The Altos music video.