With the release of their critically applauded full-length debut, 2016’s Divine Love, the Swedish-Belgian duo and married couple Victoria + Jean received attention across Scandinavia, the European Union and the States internationally recognized media outlets like Noisey, Nowness, Konbini, The Line of Best Fit, Flaunt Magazine and others, including this site, for a slinky, seductive and explosive sound that meshes elements of indie rock, experimental pop, experimental rock, the blues and others that at points brings PJ Harvey and others to mind.
The duo’s long-awaited sophomore Henrik Alsér-produced album UNDERDOG is slated for release during the Spring — and the album’s first single is the brooding and menacing “Imbecile.” Centered around an atmospheric arrangement featuring sinister and propulsive bass line, insistent beats, slashing guitar lines, Victoria’s expressive vocals, a guest vocal turn from Eiffel‘s Romain Humeau and an enormous hook, the song is full of bitter and accusatory resentments, the bile taste of failure and frustration, the disappointment and anger of betrayal, the gnawing sense of self-about and self-flagellation. It’s arguably, the angriest song they’ve released to date — and it’s fueled by personal experience.
“After the release of the first album, we found ourselves in debt and lost our home,” Victoria + Jean’s Victoria explains in press notes. “We were left on our own, and were much disappointed by humans and by some of our close friends’ reactions. And it’s at those moments, you know who are the friends you can trust, and those you can’t. ‘Imbecile’ came to us as a result of what are the real faces of people, just t be truthful and to say ‘you know I’m not imbecile, I know you are thinking.’ Or just to say — your’e a bloody fucking imbecile!” Unsurprisingly, the song was also partially inspired by and was coincidentally written during world events — particularly, the humanitarian and legal crisis at the American/Mexican border, Brexit and so on.
Directed by Sebastien Alouf, the recently released video for “Imbecile” is a cinematically shot, documentary-styled visual that follows the duo through a couple of days of their lives in Bristol that pulls back the curtains to reveal how their romantic and creative lives are intertwined and are one in the same. And throughout, the viewer sees that when the couple are together they’re in their own perfect world of art and love. “It has been several years since i met Victoria and Jean, and ever since I have episodically followed their adventures, life projects and music,” Alouf explains in press notes. “I have long been looking for a pretext to return to immerse myself in the intimacy of this couple, tell the reverse side of the scenery, the little strings that bind these two hypersensitive, hyper-creative and fusional beings. I wanted to make a sensitive fragment of their existence. . .”