On their debut EP, Transitions, Atlanta trio Breathers injected their synth-driven pop with a heavy dose of oddball eccentricity. Although rooted in a familiar ’80s-inspired sound, the group’s fluorescent neon compositions were absurdist in nature, focused on surreal interpretations of that era’s musical tropes and inverting the expectations generally foisted upon pop music. It was by no means silly — the group’s songwriting was too smart and detailed for that — but there was no denying a strong undercurrent of mischievous and campy humor running beneath it all.
Fittingly, the EP was released by Skeleton Realm, a record label and video production company created by members of local bands Warehouse and TV Dinner to help facilitate and nurture off-beat projects such as Breathers. With the support and resources of the cooperative at their disposal, the trio were able to work with Skeleton Realm’s Sam Wagstaff to create their first official video, an absurdist drama for the Transitions track “New Life” back in March. And now, half a year later, Wagstaff and the band have come together to create more bizarre visuals for the EP in the form of “Closer to the Bone.”
Starring Breathers frontman T. Lee Gunselman, the video opens with him visiting a cemetery, digging up a skeleton and — what else — carrying it with him around the city on what very much appears to be a date. The Atlanta-centric production follows the “couple” as they ride around (and dance!) on a MARTA train, play in the fountains and jungle gyms of Woodruff Park and then hit Underground Atlanta for some arcade action. For the most part the vibe is fun and sweet — if a little whacked-out and surreal. But then Gunselman opts to pay a visit to Dr. Bone’s Reanimation Center where things get decidedly darker and more weird, leading to the video’s oddly tragic finale. Click to watch above.
Breathers will perform this Friday, September 25 at Mammal Gallery for the Creative Loafing Best of Atlanta Block Party.