Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Liam the Younger

Liam Betson – Rapture In Heat (Music Video)


A lot has happened over the past few days. Most of it, once again, has been pretty astonishing. A trio of full streams compromised of a short-form teaser (Say No! To Architecture’s SN!TA), a blistering single (Kinjac’s Possession), and a full album (The Blind Shake’s raucous Fly Right) all ensured a good round for the format. Music videos doubled that number with great clips emerging from the likes of Jeff Rosenstock’s love-letter to NYC (“You, In Weird Cities“), Young Buffalo’s oddball “My Place“, and Wildhoney’s striking, lo-fi presentation for “Seventeen“.  There was also the compelling throwback aesthetics of Native America’s “Like A Dream“, Young Fathers’ deeply hypnotic clip for career highlight “Shame“, and Belle & Sebastian’s impossibly lovely home video edit for “Paper Boat“.

Great songs continue to come out at a breakneck pace and the last two days resulted in nine more to add to this year’s pile. Turn to Crime unveiled the promising “Actions“, Autobahn revealed their brooding slow-burner “Beautiful Place to Die“, and J Fernandez released the mesmerizing “Read My Mind“. Jenny Hval dipped into the sensuous with “Sabbath“, Mini Dresses quietly posted the slinky “Bracelets“, and Carlos Forster’s ambient masterpiece-“You’ll Survive“- has a shot at being one of this year’s most devastating gorgeous songs. Clean Girls unleashed the throttling “Magic City” while Tandem Felix held down considerably lighter territory with the gentle indie pop of “Waiting in the Wings” and The Pretty Greens rounded things out with the lovingly worn basement pop of “Elevator Eyes“. For today’s feature though, the focus falls on the clip for what was one of my favorite songs from last year, Liam Betson’s “Rapture In Heat”.

In the song, Betson weaves a tapestry of subtle loss in a deeply heartfelt, meaningful way. It’s interesting that the narrative through-line that the video emphasizes is the one laying in the song’s subtext: searching. The Cover of Hunter is a record that’s loaded with heavy questions and offers very little in the way of answers; a bleak approximation of life’s more infuriating struggles. At some point, Betson accepts that the only answers that are given have to be accepted, even if they’re reason for concern. James Benson (no relation) directs the clip with an assured hand, seamlessly overlaying some genuinely stunning visuals and choosing to accentuate more than just the song’s subtext. During the clip’s most direct (and most memorable) scene, Betson applies lipstick before literally flushing that part of his identity down the toilet, if only for a moment. Once the relative discomfort- and general ambiguity- of that action reels back, it stands as one of the more disquieting additions to the mythos of The Cover of Hunter. By the time the video draws to a hazy finish, it’s clear that one of 2014’s strongest songs will have one of 2015’s strongest clips. It’s essential viewing and another gem in the growing treasure trove that Double Double Whammy houses. Don’t let it pass by without celebration.

Watch “Rapture In Heat” below and order The Cover of Hunter here.

Liam Betson – Rapture in Heat (Stream)


Towards the end of last month, Liam Betson quietly released the absolutely stunning The Cover of Hunter on the increasingly impressive Double Double Whammy, who are now in the midst of one of 2014’s hottest release streaks (one that’s set to continue with LVL UP’s impending Hoodwink’d). It’s a record that’s continuing to strike a deep chord with a lot of people across a variety of scenes. Trading in his Liam the Younger moniker in favor of his given name proved to be an effective move when provided with the context of the album, Betson’s rawest and most honest work to date.

While the entire record is good enough to rank among the very best of the year, it’s the closing track that provides The Cover of Hunter with its most startling moment. Opening with the line “Bobby, coming out is scary and any advice doesn’t feel right” all but guarantees the full attention of the listener. On a record where coming to terms with a variety of things is a recurring motif, “Rapture in Heat” is the one that confronts it the most directly, to an absolutely devastating effect. A tragic melody plays out in both the instrumental and vocal composition, even when the song switches gears from the piano-assisted beginning and turns into a mid-tempo basement pop number, there’s still a sense of loss that permeates through the song.

One look at the lyrics of the last stanza only confirms how weighty the subject matter that closes The Cover of Hunter out is. Any song that ends along the lines of “You want to be loved but say that you don’t” is capable of rendering discerning listeners temporarily speechless- and any song that does it half as well as “Rapture in Heat” will always be worth listening to. Ultimately, it’s the subtle bravery that defines “Rapture in Heat” which also helps it become something more transcendental and lends a powerful sense of closure to one of 2014’s best records.

Listen to “Rapture in Heat” below and order The Cover of Hunter from Double Double Whammy here.