New Video: The Playful 60s-Inspired Visuals for Pom Poms “123”


If you had stumbled onto this site at the end of last year, you would have likely come across a couple of a posts about Los Angeles-based duo Pom Poms. Comprised of singer/songwriter Marlene and Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Billy Mohler, who is probably best known for his work with AwolnationLiz PhairKelly Clarkson, and Macy Gray, the duo have been quickly thrust into the national spotlight for a sound that owes a debt from classic garage rock and pop such as Connie FrancisPasty ClineRoy OrbisonJohnny Cash, the girl groups of the early 60s and others —  but with a subtly modern (and anachronistic) twist that makes the sound seem as though it could have been part of a a Quentin Tarantino‘s Pulp Fiction.

The duo’s debut single “Betty” caught the attention of the blogosphere for a subtly scuzzy, lo-fi-like garage-based guitar rock sound reminiscent of Roy Orbison Buddy Holly and others, and as a result the song possesses a similar urgent and swooning Romanticism; in fact, the heartache that Marlene’s tender vocals evokes is a heartache that we’ve all known at some point — being desperately in love with a lover, who’s not only fickle and thoughtless but someone you know that will inevitably break your heart. Following up on the buzz from “Betty,” the duo released a hushed and spectral alternate version of Betty that featured Marlene’s vocals paired with a sparse arrangement that includes a subtly Bossa Nova guitar line. Sonically, the alternate version channels Patsy Cline — in par — in particular, “Crazy” and “Walkin After Midnight.” And as a result, the alternate version aches with a similar desperate loneliness and longing.

Pom Poms latest single “123,” is a swinging and swaggering 60s-inspired soul song in which the song’s narrator describes playing a cat-and-mouse game with a potential suitor, who the song’s narrator sets upon having as hers and hers only. And as a result, Marlene’s sultry and soulful vocals possesses a come hither and stop wasting my damn time quality. Sonically, the song pairs Marlene’s vocals with period specific staccato bursts of organ,  propulsive rhythms and some funky guitar chords; thematically (and to my ears), I’m reminded of several songs including Amy Winehouse‘s “Rehab,” and Nancy Sinatra‘s “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” as the song possesses a similar brassy confidence.

The official video features the full touring band playing in what looks like a seedy club’s basement bathroom as well as bird-like characters roaming about. And although shot in grainy color, the video has a playful air that belies the song’s seductive nature.