I’m writing this on a rainy Sunday in early November, and LA duo National Sins have captured that vibe perfectly—that post-Halloween eeriness, that melancholy feeling that lingers after October 31st— with the wonderfully surreal and bizarre video for their first single, “All That Hurts.”
The video opens with a letter from the Los Angeles Superior Court addressed to “DEATH” opened and tossed on top of a table carelessly, and pans to a portrait on the wall from what must have been the most sinister reunion ever: a family of skeletons, dressed in witches’ clothing (because the skeletons weren’t creepy enough).
A man dressed in a skeleton suit, the presumable Death himself, wakes from sleep, removes his eye mask (because even the dead need their beauty sleep) and picks up his phone to the alarm “LIVE A LITTLE.”
After a cup of coffee from an Oprah mug, he grabs his black hoodie and loads up his Walkmen with Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and ventures solo to the boardwalk. There, he plays some games, walks along the beach, throws up his hands on the rollercoaster in a series of gorgeous shots that capture the despondency hidden beneath the saccharine veneer of amusement parks, an aesthetic that’s always spoke to my soul. Death is hardly ever alone; he’s surrounded by fully living people, who go about their business unperturbed, but he doesn’t seem to mind drifting unnoticed among the living.
Sonically, “All That Hurts” recalls the gauzy reverb of Longwave, but for some flickering moments throughout the song, there’s some Matt Berninger in the singer’s somber baritone. It’s haunting video—and not just because it features the undead—one that demands and rewards multiple rewatches, fulfilling enough to tide us over until the band drops their full EP.