One of the truly enjoyable and uplifting – if underrated – post-rock records of 2018 was A Light Within the Fracture from New Haven, CT’s Wess Meets West. The past few years have seen a real increase in activity in the American post- scene, with many bands surveying build-and-release cinematic stylings or heavier elements. In this landscape, however, bands focusing on upbeat, energetic compositions are still at a premium, which is what made A Light Within the Fracture so valuable, with its (relatively) concise, direct songwriting that leans much more buoyant than some of their moodier counterparts. It’s a record that is well-worth a re-investigation, which makes this a perfect time to debut a brand new video for the album-opening track “Monuments.”
The video was actually shot just about 20 minutes from where I live, in Charlotte, Vermont, where guitarist Sam Stauff’s family has a vacation home. It adds an extra layer of interest for me to see some familiar locations pop up throughout the video, though you don’t need to be from the area to appreciate the beauty of the rural lakeside landscapes. Shot by Alanna Morton and featuring all of the band members, along with lead performer Megan Decino, the video provides a visually-compelling dream logic that suits the song well. Morton has this to say about the production: “Ever have a running dream? You’re chasing after something or somebody with determination but you keep losing the reason why. Just as you start to think you remember what it was it slips away again. The faces you meet are familiar but they’re now taking on some other role. Maybe that of past friends, lovers, or even parts of yourself you couldn’t or wouldn’t see in your waking life… I tried to create visuals that personally meant something very specific, and yet could still resonate differently for others. Questions are good.”
Gleaning context from the visuals, my take is that the video in many ways represents the experience of listening to post-rock. In a genre with very few lyrics, it’s put upon the listener to discover their own narrative, and often the dramatic nature of the music facilitates an experience that is both deeply personal and cathartically emotional. In the video we see the main character (credited as “the dreamer”) anxiously experience a series of vignettes in which she comes face to face with the various band members, who reveal mirrors that force her to face herself again and again. Eventually she allows herself to let go of whatever it is that’s troubling her, diving into the lake and swimming out to a boat where she ultimately comes upon a final apparition. She is able to switch places with this figure and is left looking on thoughtfully as it slips quietly beneath the water’s surface. If you take the appearance of the band members as a tangible representative of the music itself, it can be seen to illustrate how the music offers a platform for self-reflection. It’s a savvy and beautifully-shot exploration of not only the dream-like nature of post-rock, but the actual functionality of the music and its relationship with its listeners.
Following its premiere with us today, the video will be featured at the Oaxaca Film Festival on Oct. 8. You can stream and purchase A Light Within the Fracture via the Bandcamp link above.