For a time in the ’80s and early ’90s, it felt like mannequins were the most popular things around. Then they got usurped by Ninja Turtles or Ghostbusters or whatever. But, like, what was up with that? Is it that they were terrifying? Because they are terrifying. Long after that, I spent my between college summers working at a daycare. Occasionally we would go on field trips to the park, but one bizarre day we went to a mannequin factory, which was basically just some dude's garage. He had molds to make mannequins, as well as a surplus of individual mannequin fingers. Each kid got to keep a finger, and when we went back to the daycare, they all took a nap, clutching their plastic fingers. It is one of my most bizarre memories—but it goes a long way to describe the weird, dark, pall these things cast on our lives without us even thinking about it. All you really have to do to remind anyone that they're creepy is linger on a mannequin's face for a couple seconds. This is something that happens multiple times in Jonathan Boulet’s huge, anthemic "This Song is Called Ragged," which tricks you into being happy before you realize it's actually kind of a dark song. In the video, Boulet blows up scary mannequins filled with blood and/or red wine, before ultimately blowing up himself. Spoiler alert? I guess? We Keep the Beat, Found the Sound, See the Need, Start the Heart is out June 12th in the US on Modular. It feels like an update of the Beach Boys' orchestral weirdness—paranoia and confusion at the way the world works fully intact and boiled down into intricate pop music.
May 24, 2012