The director: Ben Fries is Holy Ghost!’s go-to guy for music videos, likely because he’s known them for a while now. Part of the Deadhorse Film collective, Fries is a fellow Manhattan native and went to high school with HG!’s Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel. In turn, his retro-fitted videos have a purposeful air of nostalgia that are a perfect fit for the band’s disco-influenced fare. The video he produced for the duo’s “Wait and See,” where each band member is played by their respective fathers, is especially wonderful — Hive premiered that clip back in April and brought their dads back for an episode of Weird Vibes in October.
The video: This is where Frankel and Millhiser’s high-school solidarity with Frier comes into play. The director sets the scene at a school-sponsored homecoming dance from the ’80s — fuzzy gymnasium glow, awkwardly teased hair and sequined sweaters included. An early appearance by Juan Maclean as some sort of talent scout suggests that said school is home to a championship bike squad and Frankel is their star. Really.
The song: “I Wanted To Tell Her,” released on Mountain Dew’s Green Label Sound last month, is Holy Ghost’s cover of ’80s industrial synth-pop act Ministry’s track by the same name. DFA label-mates Juan Maclean and LCD Soundsystem‘s Nancy Whang contribute vocals as well; the latter’s signature understated disco affectations serve as one of the song’s highlights. Otherwise, the song is a true tribute to the original angsty duet, save a few modernizations. That is, the synth horns are brighter and more prominent, and here and an upbeat bassline pulls the whole thing together into an addictive dance-floor jam.
Amid playfully tribute dance routines, the video’s storyline is one that can be found in all the classic teenage rom-coms. Frankel, the kid who “has it all,” sings in tortured dialogue with his scorned ex and fellow bike-enthusiast (played by Whang) while a perfectly bored replacement babe stands by his side. The show culminates with a bike-off in which Whang and her new partner (played by Millhiser) very seriously strike elaborate poses while popping wheelies and gracefully weaving in and out of each other. It’s all amusingly dramatic and offhandedly cool.
Watch Hive’s First Take with Holy Ghost! here.