Drop The Fear (Limited Edition DVD)
Independent Release, 2004
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/22/2005
The music of Drop The Fear has strong visual characteristics. The atmospheric nature of the record, and the fluidity with which varying moods and sounds are meticulously pieced together on a huge canvas -- that is, the album -- of strange but interesting imageries almost give away the fact that Drop The Fear is more than just an audio project.
The limited edition DVD of Drop The Fear's self-titled debut LP gives the band members a medium to flaunt their skills in visual art and offers a closer look at what the project of Drop The Fear actually is.
The DVD is divided into three chapters: "A Visual Interpretation," "Questioning Fear," and "Behind It All."
"A Visual Interpretation," is literally a visual accompaniment to the music of the album, song by song, although whether -- as the band claims -- these visual images are indeed interpretations of the music going on in the background is questionable.
The images are basically everyday stuff captured on a video camera, with graphics and other sorts of manipulating agents added to it for effect. Most are shots of random objects, like a lone wireless antenna-tower, a drunken man, a plane taking off or the brightly shining sun, random things that one might capture while driving on the road, of things moving in the opposite direction.
The photography, though amateurish, is great, and along with the crazy add-on graphics and almost audacious use of colors, gives a psychedelic visual form to the rather estranged -- and strangely emotional -- music. But, here is where it all starts to hurt.
The camera-work, however adept, makes the whole visual trip through the record seem like watching a home movie for two reasons. Though there are glimpses of a Michel Gondry video seen in plenty of the shots, they still lack the professional edge, because of the camera used that was strictly meant for shooting home-movies. There is no drastic difference in the visuals from one song to another, and the strong identities of the songs and the uniqueness of each one of them are undermined by the same kind of imageries repeated from song to song. As a result, there really seems to be no specific interpretation for each song, which does not do justice to the sense of individualism that each number carries with itself.
The second chapter, called "Questioning Fear," is an interview of the band-members on their interpretations of fear. Also, it has various interviews -- conducted by the band itself -- of arbitrary strangers (encountered on the band's road-trip) on their interpretation of what fear is. Excerpts from these interviews can be found on the record as sound-bytes on various cuts. The interview sessions (with the band and by the band) yield Pink Floyd-ish quotes like "Change is difficult, scary and uncomfortable," and gives food for thought -- that is, if you are into the concept of fear and the philosophies associated with it.
The third chapter, "Behind It All," makes absolutely no sense at all, since it indeed is a home movie by the band members, catching them doing things that are not particularly interesting. It wouldn't have mattered at all if this chapter were left out of the rest of the DVD.
Drop The Fear is an immensely talented band, and this experimental visual project is an accompaniment to one of the greatest -- and most creative -- albums in recent times. The genius of the music demands a more thoughtful visual manifestation, and though the movie is stimulating, it is just not enough for the soundtrack. It so happens that the band-members are smarter musicians than they are cinematographers.
[For more information on Drop The Fear, visit www.dropthefear.com]