On Our Radar: In a potent double shot, Dominique Fricot delivers timely messages with videos for "Echoes" and "Help Is Needed"

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      Today we’re going to break with On Our Radar tradition a bit by bringing you a double shot, the thinking being that if Dominique Fricot is going to go above and beyond in front of the camera, he deserved to be recognized for his efforts.

      The Vancouver singer-songwriter was busy as he geared up for the release of his new album, Deserts, which arrived on both the interweb and finer-brick-and mortar record stores on March 23.

      First came “Help Is Needed”, the video for which kind of blew our minds in February for its ambitiousness. Forget sitting in a forest clearing or setting up in a 911 call centre, Fricot goes full-on epic with a treatment that suggests, in no particular order, Saving Private Ryan, Full Metal Jacket, and the first 10 minutes of the nightly news.

      Clad in military fatigues and carrying a machine gun he looks like he’d rather die than use, he starts out hunkered down by a chainlink fence as mortar fire turns the landscape around him into a smoke-filled hell.

      The first great thing about the video is that it doesn’t cheap out; you can almost smell the flying dirt, and taste the fear as machine guns spit and blaze from the far-off trees. Just as admirable is the way that Fricot subtly suggests there’s a better way, singing “People I dare you—drop your guns, drop your borders” over reverb-bathed percussion and chillwave keyboards. Think of it as finding something beautiful in the darkness, the underlying message being that sometimes you have to fight your way through hell, even if only metaphorically.

      In the just-released, wonderfully meditative “Echoes”, the message is seemingly that happiness is all relative. The video takes us to Kathmandu, Nepal, where two kids make their own fun by dipping their feet in water vats, climbing walls made of loose bricks, and generally amuse themselves in a way that doesn’t involve staring at an iPhone or playing an Xbox for hours.

      Those looking for a lesson that will stick long after the clip is over can proceed directly to 3:25 mark. As “Echoes” briefly fades out, Kid 1—having successfully used an abandoned tire as a trampoline to execute an impressive mid-air flip—pushes Kid 2 to step up and give it a go. His message? That would be “Even if you fall, you will learn.”

      No matter what shit you've got going on, step back and think about the reality that you won’t get a better piece of advice this year.