Premiere: Smokey Brights Share New Video for “Resolutions” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, September 28th, 2023  

Premiere: Smokey Brights Share New Video for “Resolutions”

New LP Levitator Is Out Everywhere Now via Nine Mile Records

Jun 05, 2023 Photography by Rachel Bennett
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Last week, Seattle indie quartet Smokey Brights returned with their fourth full-length record, Levitator. Recorded and produced by Andy D. Park (Death Cab For Cutie, Pedro the Lion), the record finds the band trading in on their collective closeness and spontaneity. Husband and wife duo Kim West and Ryan Devlin recorded with bassist Luke Rägnar and drummer Nick Krivchenia live in a single room, deliberately leaning into the easy chemistry of their live show and their penchant for anthemic sing-along songwriting.

Today, following the record’s release, Smokey Brights are back with an accompanying video for one of the album’s highlights, “Resolutions,” premiering with Under the Radar.

With “Resolutions” the band wrestles with the ever-present tension of the creative arts: living out a dream and the pull of financial stability. The lyrics trace a relatable inner monologue as West is beset by doubts from those around her and from within herself, wondering if the band can keep a creative career afloat: “And I’m starting to wonder / Who’s more satisfied / And I’m starting to wonder / How you bury dreams alive?” The video strikes a similarly wistful tone, following the band as they muddle through a soul-sucking corporate job, daydreaming of the chance to play music together.

Yet, the band tempers that reflective sheen with a sharp chorus and earworm melodies. West and Devlin conjure some lush vocal harmonies in the vein of bands like Fleetwood Mac, while later in the track the band rises to a soaring climax, with West delivering a standout vocal performance. For as much as the track’s lyrics labor over questions of the future and the world’s harsh realities, these final moments feel joyful and life-affirming, drowning out any lingering melancholy with a dose of pure pop euphoria.

West and Devlin say of the track, “The seed of this song came out of a New Year’s Day hangover brunch in which we showed up to a friend’s beautiful home smelling like the seedy bar we’d played the night before. Non-traditional paths and creative careers come with a lot of resistance, both from outside and within. “Host wants to hear Resolutions, big plans for our big year / I just wanna make music, somehow afford to live here.” From the well-meaning questions from others like, “do you make money doing that?,” to the constant self-inquiries, “Did I ever have a plan? / Who the hell do I think I am?,” it can be hard to keep going.

And, spoiler alert, this resistance does not subside as you age. Seeing peers entering their second child, second property phase while we’re dumping the payout from last night’s gig into our twenty year old tour van can feel downright silly. But as artists, our paychecks don’t always come with a monetary value. It’s the people we meet, the places we go, the connections we make, the experiences we carry. We feel so lucky to be putting out our fourth record Levitator, and to have a place to channel these feelings. To get to sing our own songs and have others connect with them feels like a magical act. We are so grateful to get to live the dream while we still can.”

Meanwhile, directors Sylas and Julie of Dall House Pictures say of the accompanying video: “As artists ourselves, we know how difficult it is to balance physical survival with our spiritual and artistic needs. With the music video for this song, we wanted to build on the band’s lyrics and tell a story that would resonate with anyone who feels held down by the monotony and politics of a corporate job.

We were also both recently laid off (12 days before Christmas!) from our corporate jobs and wanted to underscore how this work environment can be dehumanizing for everyone in it.

For the visual style, we wanted to create a world with a timeless, nostalgic feel, inspired by the movies “Office Space” and “9 to 5.” Our color palette included baby blue, bubble gum pink, and soft browns, with pops of teal and red. Vintage radios, clocks, corded telephones, and CRT monitors appear throughout the video.

As filmmakers, we’ve collaborated for many years in different capacities but this was our first time co-writing and co-directing together. We find magic in our complementary skills and in our shared approach to storytelling–and in blending our creative energy with Ryan and Kim of Smokey Brights!”

Check out the song and video below. Levitator is out everywhere now via Nine Mile Records.


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