With their new album in the can, R.E.M. have tapped director Garth Jennings to helm the clip for "Imitation of Life," the first single from Reveal, due out in May.
The trio of singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck and bassist Mike Mills will film the video in Los Angeles next week, manager Bertis Downs said Thursday.
The bulk of the video should be completed before March 1, when Buck will head out on the road with multi-instrumentalist Scott McCaughey and guitarist Ken Stringfellow both of whom also guest on Reveal for the start of a Minus 5 tour.
Downs was tight-lipped about the concept for the "Imitation of Life" video. "Some groups like to reveal everything about a video before it even hits the air, but we're being circumspect about this," Downs said. "We still want it to be a surprise when it actually debuts."
R.E.M. chose Jennings after being "blown away" by the director's treatment for the video and by his work on such recent clips as Badly Drawn Boy's "Disillusion" and Fatboy Slim's "Demons," Downs said.
"Imitation of Life," expected to surface on radio in April, has been described as a guitar-driven, midtempo number that's more in the vein of "Losing My Religion" or "Man on the Moon" than the balladesque "E-Bow the Letter" and "Daysleeper," the lead singles off R.E.M.'s last two records, 1996's New Adventures in Hi-Fi and 1998's Up, respectively.
The band, along with producer Pat McCarthy and engineer Jamie Candoliro, just wrapped work on Reveal, which was recorded in Miami; Vancouver, British Columbia; Dublin, Ireland; and Athens, Georgia (see "Next R.E.M. Album Lush, More Hard-Rocking").
R.E.M. unveiled a pair of new songs, "She Just Wants to Be" and "The Lifting," during their performances at the Rock in Rio Festival in Brazil on January 13 and the Hot Festival in Argentina on January 17. Other tracks slated for the new album include "Saturn Return," "Fascinating," "Disappear" and "I've Been High."