It's fitting that I'm writing the premiere for Modern Diet's new video, "Red Eye," while sardine-canned on a bus after taking an overnight flight of my own. For a song that's so thoroughly grounded in a contemporary setting, it has a woodsy, almost spiritual atmosphere, exploring those liminal spaces between waking and sleep that so often accompany long-distance travel.
Jaron Lionel's animation plays with those spaces subtly and artfully, shifting in and out of focus and sometimes obscuring scenes entirely with first-person blinking (as our protagonist presumably drifts off in his seat). The imagery is surreal, suggesting a dreamlike state, and it's never entirely clear what's real and what's in his head.
The music itself is spare, pensive, and somewhat reminiscent of Local Natives—I usually try not to be so reductive, but the comparison seems apt. "Red Eye" is a slow burn, with clear, confident vocals driving things forward throughout, and it pays off in the end with a powerful and well-earned climax. Maybe it's just my sleep-deprived and caffeine-addled brain talking, but this is one of the best new tracks (and animated videos) I've heard all year.