On Our Radar: Elastic Stars goes a fascinatingly retro route with “Falls Back”

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      Here’s something fun can you can do with the video for “Falls Back” by Elastic Stars: turn the sound off for the first viewing and imagine you’ve gone into things cold.

      In other words, you don’t know main-man Colin Cowan for his hired-gun bass work with everyone from Black Mountain to Destroyer, and you have zero idea that his side hustles include commanding stages as a part-time stand-up comic.

      The slate wiped clean, here’s what you might imagine is going during the clip’s four minutes. Start with home movie footage either shot in the colour-saturated ’70s, or lensed through the 8mm app on an iPhone XR.

      Someone—that would be Cowan—appears to have graduated magna cum laude from the Ed the Sock school of puppeteering, with a minor in old-school bow-tied vaudeville showmanship.

      A small child makes repeat appearances, suggesting the guardian of said child (and maybe the kid himself) is probably a creative type—the kind of music obsessive more prone to playing the Beatles and Daniel Johnston around the house than Raffi and the Wiggles.

      And then there’s the band we occasionally see in a performance, which might have been shot on Super-8 stock at the Retinal Circus circa 1967. Or maybe in an East Van alt-country bar last year, captured by a vintage Argus 814 on lovingly distressed film.

      The possibilities are endless. And based on the way “Falls Back” sounds, none of those readings seem far off.

      Gloriously and defiantly analogue, “Falls Back” casts Elastic Stars as the kind of proudly DIY project which gets American indie labels like Dead Oceans salivating. If you need reference points, start with the paisley-perfect garage-pop of Nico-era Velvet Underground and then proceeed to the dream-dazed Americana of the Flying Burrito Brothers.

      Okay, now that you’ve played the game, here’s Cowan’s own breakdown of what’s going on in “Falls Back”—both the video and the song:

      “A new single from nostalgic Vancouver psych outfit, Elastic Stars. Colin Cowan (Destroyer, Dada Plan) shares a song to a loved one about being there for them then, now, and forever. This music video couples that sentiment with a mind-melting personal journey inward. Colin is trying to differentiate between his actual experienced nostalgic memories and his digital nostalgic memories from a lifetime of television and internet consumption…”

      Even if you didn’t nail it, major points for playing.