If you’ve ever seen a David Lynch movie, you know the kinds of unsettling ends to which retro pop can be applied. There’s something about the ethereal but affecting nature of midcentury slow jams that makes them feel out of sequence, uprooted from any particular time or place, existing in a free-floating perpetual yesteryear. That sense of timelessness is put to good use in the new video for “Orchids,” a song off the upcoming self-titled EP from NYC group The Shacks, out October 28 on Big Crown Records.
Shot entirely in the woods, the imagery places the song and vibe firmly in the witching hour, evoking just the right amount of spookiness. “Most of the video was filmed in the middle of the night,” says guitarist Max Shrager. “We had already fallen asleep by the time the shoot was ready to go. So we’re in a half-awake daze for most of the scenes.” That hazy in-between state serves the song well: It’s a ’50s-style ballad, slow and soulful, just on the edge of doo-wop, that is given a sparse and eerie edge by the half-whispered vocals of singer Shannon Wise. Then, just when it seems the slow wafting of the melody is settling down, the song shifts tempo, providing an almost calypso-esque coda to the tune. The song and video, premiering exclusively at The A.V. Club, make a case for the compelling power of minimalism and quiet beauty.