There’s a darkness implicit in “Throats” that extends beyond tenor or mood. The atmosphere is tense and ominous, yes, but the imagery speaks to black magic and the mysteries of the occult. It’s unusual territory, especially for a group that trades in ambient electronica and synthpop, but Atlanta duo CLAVVS have explored this terrain before on the video for their 2015 single “Sit You Down”, which saw the pair convert East Atlanta’s Brownwood Park into some sort of preternatural throne room. The similarities are no coincidence.
In an email from the band, producer Graham Marsh and vocalist Amber Reneé stated that “Throats” is to be seen as a prequel to “Sit You Down,” one that occupies the same “dark, magical space” as its predecessor. And indeed, both videos exist in a state of permanent midnight, conjuring a world that is haunting and ritualistic. In “Throats,” Reneé plays the role of high priestess consulting tarot cards, mixing shadowy potions, and holding black mass in the flickering candlelight. Her vocals are sinister yet alluring, and while they don’t speak directly to ideas of the supernatural, there’s a definite sense of violence and dread lurking in the lyrics. “Give them what they want, yeah, make them eat it whole / cover it with sugar and then feed it to them slow” she sings over eerie synths and skeletal percussion before her intentions turn grim and threatening: “If they spit it out, open up their mouths / shove it down their throats.”
With this latest pair of videos, CLAVVS seem intent on building a mood that is macabre and forbidding, yet strangely seductive. Both songs will appear on their upcoming album, halfblood, a title which has it own mystical connotations and speaks to questions of purity and contamination. In lesser hands, this might all come off as overly dramatic or ham-fisted, but Marsh and Reneé strike the right balance between artistry and kitsch, a sign which bodes well for their forthcoming record.
halfblood is out April 4.