While looking for visual inspiration for their latest single “Capri Suntan,” off Escape from Alpha Draconis the members of Brooklyn-based band Sensual Harassment stumbled across some 8mm footage featuring a young, beach-bound couple in Hawaii around 1965. After contacting the YouTube user who posted the video, the band learned that it was the couple’s son who posted the footage, footage which had been thought to have been lost for the past 25 years. After being offered the raw, uncut home movie footage, the band thought it would be fitting to recut a new video from the footage to use for their song – using the footage to tell the story of two hopeful, young lovers. The result is a sadly a posthumous collaboration between the band and the cameraman and father in question (as he had passed away some time before.)
The two young lovers at the heart of the video are decidedly unremarkable; in fact their story on a certain level should feel warmly familiar in a superficial sense. Two star-crossed lovers in a gorgeous, almost heavenly locale. But the love the then young cameraman and father feels towards his wife is powerful and sincere – that love is so powerful that she appears on film, as though she’s the most wonderful and beautiful thing he’s ever seen. To me, what makes the video so affecting is that both of our protagonists are unguarded in a way that would be in many ways unfamiliar in an age of sneering irony and cynicism.
The cameraman and father strikes me as being a sweet, goofy sort – the sort whose complete guilelessness is endearing. In some way, more modern folks would view that sort of guilelessness as being laughably quaint. The mom who is really the heart of the footage, seems to be a lovely woman with kind eyes and warm, mischievous smile. The sort of woman a novelist would describe as having a song within her heart. And in such a gorgeous locale, their story should resonate – it’s not yet the story of crushed hopes, dashed expectations or regrets; in fact, their story seems boundlessly hopeful in a way that all of us, have once felt.
And the footage is quite fitting for a song that’s delicate and nostalgic, while gently reminding you that things aren’t always innocent, and they certainly won’t be as innocent again. Time passes on and eventually life moves – with or without us. Interestingly enough, the somewhat sparsely arranged song – atmospheric synth, guitar, bass, drum/drum machine and vocals fed through reverb – sound as though it could have been released in the 80s, a period that was particularly nostalgic for the 60s.