THE HARA DELVE INTO THE WORLD OF ANIMATION WITH THEIR BRAND NEW STATEMENT MUSIC VIDEO.
For the last two weeks, The Hara’s latest politically-charged single, Circus, has been whirling around the music scene with ever-increasing momentum, having already hit the number one spot on the iTunes Rock charts. It currently stands at over 13k streams on Spotify alone and has been a top favourite for fans ever since release. The Circus music video definitely amplifies the political undertones of the song, and is packed full of references to the world’s ongoing chaos and corruption.
Knowing The Hara’s track record for Easter Eggs, I expect fans may uncover some, intentional or not, in the next few weeks. The band recently managed to get “bobs and vagana” into the backing vocals of their EP track Tokyo Hit, I’ll let you guess what that one translates into. The main idea for the video is of a cut and stick cartoon strip collage, which struck me initially as a somewhat punkified version of the Have I Got News For You intro. Watching the video captivated me so much that I ended up second-guessing the use of every word and letter on this video, and fans can be expected to find themselves down a rabbit hole if they try and work out the significance of every visual.
Within the first 12 seconds of Circus, before even the lyrics begin, we’ve had an exploding earth, flying cars and a wartime propaganda woman with a face mask on. It’s confusing and messes with your head, and could be in danger of being distracting and messy if it wasn’t for the flawless production and interweaving characters. Instead, it feels like The Hara have yet again embraced the chaos and turned it into a political statement, a side of the trio that we have seen increasingly since their We Are The Movement EP. The video continues with armed clowns in riot gear marching the streets strewn with toys and ice cream, accompanying the line clowns commanding crowds, a statement that sadly could not be more relatable to current events.
We move on to what becomes a recurring visual motif in the video, politicians with animal heads: the first of these is a monkey headed politician in an office (the image that was revealed as the thumbnail to the Official Statement) that is undeniably The White House. Echoing Josh Taylor’s lyrics push the button on another life, the monkey president triggers a massive explosion behind the window and after a quick move to a reference to polluting energy power stations, we move back to said politician now smoking a spliff surrounded by a burning landscape. The Hara have not been afraid to throw subtlety out of the window in order to make their point.
The animal faced politicians appear many times throughout the Circus music video, including pigeons, monkeys, pigs and gorillas. This reminded me a bit of George Orwell’s Animal Farm – that too an animal allegory for corrupted politics. Next, fans may recognise the animated joker/clown face that was originally used to promote the single, which has now become the albeit rather creepy, star of the show with added kaleidoscopic effects.
During the fiery instrumental break, showcasing the talents of Jack Kennedy (drums) and Zack Breen (guitar), the video moves away from cartoon effects and instead shows a mass of stacked TVs playing real-life footage of wars, explosions, natural disasters, medical tests, protests, poverty, pollution and about everything else that represents a world that as Josh describes has “gone mad”. This section, although brief, is very striking as we see real-life experiences, and if you were missing the message before you certainly will not be now.
After watching this section it reminded me of what The Hunna did with their recent Dark Times music video, as well as The 1975 in Love It If We Made It, both that have included footage from current events to make a very in your face, visual and political point.
There are countless other references and messages hidden within this video, including a feature from Anonymous, but I’ll let you discover those for yourself. It is no doubt that creating a music video in lockdown was always going to be a challenge, with most bands unable to be together making performance style videos impossible. However, Circus does not feel second best for its in lockdown creation. Instead, it feels fresh and powerful, and the lack of any visuals of the band within the video I think only serves to make it a more impactful representation of what is going on around the world. I’m hesitant in saying this, but I personally think this is one of The Hara’s best music videos to date.