Hotel rooms transform into soundstages, street scenes turn into postcards and nothing else is what it seems in Dashboard Confessional's video for "Rapid Hope Loss," the second single from A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar.
"It's one of those videos where it's hard to tell what's going on from scene to scene and events seem out of order," singer Chris Carrabba explained. "It takes a while to figure out what you're looking at. Every time you think you've locked into something, you realize it's not what's happening exactly. Every shot turns out to be something slightly different than what it looked like originally."
Shot two weeks ago by director Brian Scott Weber, the clip constantly alters perceptions as the camera zooms out to reveal images within images in a style that's part White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army," part Russian nesting doll. The song has just appeared on radio and the video should surface early next month.
Unlike "Hands Down," the first single off Dashboard's latest, "Rapid Hope Loss" marks a return to such embittered anthems as DC's mainstream breakthrough, "Screaming Infidelities" from 2001's The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most (see "Dashboard Wiping That Smile Off Their Face For Next Single"). The song, like its video, concerns distorted perceptions. It's punctuated by the repeated line,
"Now that I can see you, I don't think you're worth a second glance."
The clip opens with a shot of a Polaroid camera. Zooming out, we see it's held by a woman, played by actress Dominique Swain ("Lolita," "Pumpkin"), who takes a picture. Carrabba and guitarist John Lefler are in the room with her, though the scene is soon revealed to be an image on a TV screen being watched by Carrabba, Lefler, drummer Mike Marsh and bassist Scott Schoenbeck. And this image, we discover, is only a picture tacked up on a bulletin board. The video further unravels in this way.
"We picked Brian's treatment after sifting through like 20 others," said Carrabba, who now sports a vehemently straight mop top. "It seemed the most promising and inventive one."
A loose narrative woven through the visually engaging sequences depicts a love triangle involving Carrabba, Swain's character and another man.
Whenever the video's misleading sequences show Carrabba and the object of his infatuation in the same scene, it's revealed to be only a mirror, TV screen or photograph presenting the illusion of the two together.
The clip appears to end as it began, with the girl holding the camera. Yet even this image turns out to have been captured in the viewfinder of Carrabba's own camera.
"Dominique's got such a sweet yet sultry look about her," Carrabba said. "If you watch the video as an open-ended story, you can decide for yourself whether she's a sweet, faithful girl or sultry and unfaithful."