Puppets, on the whole, are pretty freaking creepy— and they become even more horror-tastic when paired with some dirty rock ’n’ roll. Exhibit A: the Black Lips’ new video for “Funny,” off of their recently released album, Underneath the Rainbow.
As with much of the Lips’ music, there’s a dark kind of dissonance to “Funny”: a clap-along chorus (“I don’t feel so corny now/ Now that the worlds turned upside down!”) mixed with a kind of manic, watch-the-world-burn energy, topped off, finally, with Cole Alexander’s rasping, almost pleading voice.
Add a cadre of puppets into the mix — and let the Lips have their way with the stringed backup dancers — and you have something that’s, in a word, kind of disturbing.
The video sees the band pouring out of a car, clapping as they shamble toward the entrance to the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre in Los Angeles. They hit the stage then, an incongruous kind of scene in which the unsmiling band strums into the camera, surrounded by leering harlequins, dancing guitars playing themselves, wide-eyed and undulating jellyfish and mini marching band leaders.
The assemblage of puppets grows and grows — skeletons and drums and dancing ladies — more than a few molested by Alexander, until the band wraps up the track and piles into the van once more. Bad trip over and forgotten — except by the audience, whose dreams will be wholly haunted.