Lets see if we’ve got the narrative right, including that the overriding message seems to be that the devil does indeed find work for idle hands.
The video for “Terracotta Sunroom” opens with the four members of Victoria’s Pastel Blank looking like they take their fashion cues from Duchasse Vintage, the films of John Hughes, and the Matador Records roster circa ’93.
That all three of those reference points scream “retro” makes perfect sense considering both the song's slanted-and-enchanted vibe, and that the group is glued to a monitor showing camcorder footage from long-gone days when VHS was still locked in a format war with Beta, Laserdisc, and 8mm.
Bored disinterest gradually gives way to vaguely horrified fascination as a priest that's possibly from the Church of Art d’Ecco does....umm....actually who knows what the hell he’s up to. Is he—to a soundtrack that winningly blends slacker pysch with golden-era indie rock—picking his way through a garden that’s in serious need of a landscaper, not to mention a visit from 1-800-GOT-JUNK?
Is the footage of the priest with the statues from a trip to Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia? Or did the video's creative team of William Wilkinson, Angus Watt, and Alex Bierlmeier call in a favour from the folks at Ital Decor Ltd. in gloriously scenic North Burnaby.
While the answer might be right on screen with the “12 bit” stamp, why is the camcorder footage a colour-blown ’70s-mortuary green? Where does the disco ball fit in, and was Toni Basil in charge of makeup?
But whatever’s going on, Pastel Blank ends up going all in.
Halfway through the video, what seems like ordinary milk somehows turns the band’s members greasepaint white. By the home stretch of the winningly laconic “Terracotta Sunroom”, Pastel Blank seemingly hasn’t seen a sunroom in the better part of a half-century. The clothes are suddenly all black—as in Wednesday Addams meets art-world undertaker—and the vampire-white band members are a coffin-black lipstick tube and none-more black eyeliner away from joining the Scandinavian Death Metal Wars.
Either that, or we’ve got the narrative wrong and the whole thing is a post-ironic Catholic church tribute to the films of Werner Herzog, Hideo Nakata, and Marcel Marceau. Not to mention the latest bit of proof that the devil does indeed find work for idle hands.