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music video review: sesame by homeshake

Premiered along with a video on December 3rd 2020, new single “Sesame” pulls Homeshake back to territories they explored on In The Shower, but this time, in a universe dipped in the jazzy black ink of a Film Noir. With this track, Sagar shys away from the minimalist outlook that 2019’s “Helim” offered and re-explores the space-bending fullness that his earlier works pursued. 

Immediately the quaintness in the opening of the track struck me with its longing and to place this old melancholy whir under an illustration of childlike stars was just the juxtaposition that the pairing of song and video needed from the start. John Andrews’ animation style nods its cap to Fred Wolf’s work on the 1971 film “The Point” in its simplistic splendor, scratching the nostalgia of Schoolhouse Rock and serving it up as a long forgotten aesthetic niche. But this song doesn’t open with the same bounce and pop of color that “Are You Sleeping” does and naturally, the animation takes an alternative route as well. 

The sketches of checkered dance floors and lonely jazz clubs give Sagar’s tune a visual way to spell out the feeling of walking alone, lit up by the streetlights in our own subway station fantasies. It’s no wonder with a track like this that a palette of greys, beiges, creams, and blacks would be on the drawing board, re-emphasising all the late-night wandering in the tone of Sagar’s layered instrumentation. The whole thing strikes me as what would have happened if Fritz Lang came back from the dead and tried his hand at an animated short. The overarching theme of contrast in all aspects of the experience just screams Lang in it’s fluidity between the dark, the light, and the empty. 

The music itself is so nocturnal while still striking a familiar chord, despite the lyrics spelling out the vaguest of quatrains: “Sesame, So good to me, Bite on my feet, Be good to me.” Illustrator Andrews runs with this open framework as he gives us effortlessly clean lines that stay constantly moving along at a tempo that’s just a touch too twitchy to be human, making it the perfect place for his sharply dressed feline friends to take the stage. The humanoid cats we come to meet in this five-minute film fold and bend so easily when they dance and with untelling pencil marks acting as pupils, it makes the eerie choral hum that carries us away around the 3:30 mark so much more intensified. When it comes to Homeshake, the merit of the work comes from the way you feel post-listen. 

Spinning, Sagar sends us into a dream in the waking and when our listening ends, it pulls us back out, leaving us with the same disillusionment felt when you first come out of a long sleep. I’m more than excited to hear this track come from Homeshake and I hope Sagar stays on this train for upcoming work. Peter’s music has been big in my heart since my days of highschool dances and drivers tests, but the release of Helium to follow up his stellar work on Fresh Air was anticlimactic and stagnant at best, causing me to fall off a wagon for a bit. That being said, July’s release of his most sensitive and pillowy EP, Haircut, turned things around by tapping into a more emotionally mature side of Sagar, carrying an unexplored vulnerability that even his intentionally bored delivery couldn’t mask. “Sesame” was the cherry on top that solidified Peter as back on the rise and its elegance only heightened my already hopes high for the future of Homeshake.

Watch the video for “Sesame” here:

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