Did Ingmar Bergman remake The Ring? For the first three and a half minutes of “Black Dunes,” it seems that way. The new video from This Will Destroy You, apocalyptic Texan band, was even conceived in Bergman’s burg (a.k.a. Sweden), according to director Malcom Elijah in Spin’s premiere of the video. And in terms of Ring-y-ness, “Black Dunes” has got febrile, wan girls with dangling dark hair, shivering static on the screen, and a notable lack of color. But all an all, “Black Dunes” is weirder than it is terrifying, featuring a caboshed lion’s head as perhaps the girl’s house cat, all kinds of super-imposed visuals, plus “lo-fi” distortion. It would be easy to float some conceptual reading atop the short film and say it’s the poor gal’s loss of mind or descent into loneliness, but who cares about a narrative like that. The aesthetic alone is more interesting than obtuse symbolism and exploitation of a girl’s darkish looks.
In fact, a little over 200 seconds in, when the song finally makes its heavy dive, “Black Dunes” employs some of the most jarring and hypnotic visual effects seen in recent memory. Despite Black Swan having made it disastrously cliché to use ballerina imagery in connection with crazy girls, the dancer who appears at 3:40 is viciously effective, though mostly for the insane effects she’s filtered through. Everything siphoned through this visual warp looks like it’s rising from an ocean of oil — thus, the black dunes — and the danseuse in particular appears at first to be a sea monster.
So enjoy the full 8:21 of the track and video. This Will Destroy You kicked off a winter tour on January 28. Strangely, even if you don’t know their name, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard the band, as their track “The Mighty Rio Grande” is featured in Brad Pitt’s current Oscar-crusade, Moneyball. “Black Dunes” comes from the band’s second album, Tunnel Blanket, released on Suicide Squeeze Records last May.