By Lauren Donnelly
VANCOUVER – Vancouver’s ‘60s throwback sextet, the Ballantynes, are imagining the beginning of the end of times with their new video for “Downtown.”
With world leaders threatening nuclear holocaust, it seems like as good a time as any to imagine the end of the world as we know it. Prepare to take in-case-of-apocalypse advice from some of the planet’s heartiest creatures – a couple of cockroaches.
Director Dylan Moore’s animation opens on a wholesome, classic tableau: a duo sharing a milkshake in a diner. But starting with a tight close-up of the milkshake, it’s hard to tell who’s doing the drinking. Are they aliens? Are they insects? The frame expands to give a fuller picture of cockroach love. Chaos reigns outside the diner window, but the pair is unperturbed. Their eyes steadily fixed on one another, their moustache-like palps twitch in playful animation.
The tune’s blissed-out vibe complements the lovelorn narrative. “Downtown” is a moony love song inspired by classic Motown. Its message is that everything might be terrible, but we still have each other. The sultry lead vocals, bright electric guitar, tambourine accents and sprightly background vocals create a reassuring aural throwback. In the video, blimps fly by warning that “the end is nigh,” comets rain down, and a mushroom cloud lights up the frame, but these two insects aren’t worried because they’ve got each other.
The song and the video offer a comforting reminder to focus in on love, plain and simple, even when everything else is falling apart.