San Francisco’s Karmacoda step inside a romantic tangle in the video for “Unglued,” a track off their 2018 record Intimate, available via VQ Creative. The band seem interested in exploring what a “lover’s quarrel” has to say about our modern nature at large, setting the back-and-forth of the gentle but relentless track against scenes of a bustling city late at night.
The band dive deep into a sense of contrast, offering a unifying sense of clarity through a number of different possibly uneasy and complicated life situations.
The video opens with a shot of its protagonist lying on the ground as city life continues on by her, depicting a strange, uneasy sort of tranquility that probably shouldn’t be there, but appears anyway.
The video’s central figure quickly seems to realize that something isn’t right, taking off down the street towards an apparent final destination where she’d been envisioning a situation with an apparent lover. On her way, she encounters a number of scenes constructed familiarly enough to draw onlookers in before offering them a take to question their own standing in life. An apparent couple stands in embrace before the emotionally disconnected girlfriend’s eyes dart over to peer at the passersby. A man seems to be playing a board game with no one at all, on second look. A street food cart operator has their face completely obscured by smoke. Through each moment, the protagonist keeps pressing onward, only to find that no one’s where she’d been envisioning her lover once she arrives there.
There’s a sense of an overarching theme that takes our most poignant yet familiar life situations into a broader picture of our inescapably complicated human condition. Complication like that found in a decaying relationship spreads on and on into our lives at nearly every turn to the point where acceptance might be all that’s left.
The music itself fits right in with its new video accompaniment. Rather than stick with a beat and leave it at that, Karmacoda have expanded the possibilities of electronics outward, crafting an intriguing soundscape. While utilizing sparse instrumentation, they make every note count, turning their music into a fog of sorts that lays over the listener and makes them ponder their place as vocalists Jessica Ford and Brett Crockett lyrically stand in for former lovers who’ve faced the male figure lying. Throughout the song, Crockett’s figure gradually comes to term with that they’ve done, and the tension gets enveloped into a broader, intriguing, and almost comforting tune.
The track and its video serve somewhat as a bridge forward for those invested in the either musical or thematic content. Although the contrasts and situations the video present may be aesthetically appealing and even just plain familiar, there’s a more uneasy depth shaking the whole environment. Yet, there’s no particularly overwhelming resolution offered once the song draws to a close and Ford sings that in the relationship scenario the lyrics had been exploring, nothing’s changed, even through turmoil.
We’re complicated beings, and sometimes the best course of action is to simply come to terms with — and possibly embrace that fact.