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BOTW Video: Wild Nothing – ‘A Dancing Shell’

As a visual metaphor for Wild Nothing‘s musical journey so far, the video for Empty Estate high point ‘A Dancing Shell‘ is unparalleled. It starts out, by and large, in black and white, casting hypnotic shapes at the viewer – just remind yourself of how enchanting and possessing those opening guitars on Gemini‘s ‘Live in Dreams‘ were – before kicking in with spiraling patterns of image and sound, which incidentally is exactly where Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum finds himself now.

His latest EP, Empty Estate, certainly feels like the most revelrous, celebratory entry in the Wild Nothing canon to date, so perhaps it’s unsurprising to see the Virginia native dabbling in cartoons and cut-and-paste aesthetics for the record’s first video: anything more dour would have felt unfitting. It all runs a little deeper than that, though.

In one of ‘A Dancing Shell”s more introspective moments, Tatum confesses in downtrodden spoken word: “I’m not a human, I’m just a body. Just a dancing shell, here to make you happy. I have no feeling, I have no thoughts. I have to make you love me.” Contrasted by the video’s protagonist at this point – a walking composition of paper scraps – the line is lent far greater clarity; he’s a hollow appendix of secondhand ideas and rehashed parts, sure, but he can still bring that special someone happiness. Tatum himself, though, is far from that – something that Empty Estate and in particular the po-mo mash up of ‘A Dancing Shell’ are a perfect testament to.

- Alex Cull

Wild Nothing’s ‘Empty Estate’ is available now on Bella Union. You can order it here.

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