Aug 132020
swimwear department

Like 3-D movies, 360-degree YouTube videos briefly seemed like a revolution before quickly fading. But on their new cover of Tommy James and the Shondells’ timely “I Think We’re Alone Now,” Houston quartet Swimwear Department put the format to good use.

If you don’t realize it’s a 360-degree video, you just watch frontman Matt Graham going stir-crazy in his kitchen. He’s entertaining enough that you could just stick there. But zoom around, via the left-right arrows up top, and you’ll find more cartoon houses with more band members. Each, true to the title, more or less alone (give or take a baby).

It’s a virtual world like a hand-drawn Sims, and a clever way to visualize each band member’s quarantined life. Drummer Jack Gordon compared it to attending a concert – remember those? – saying in the press release, “A lot of us focus on whatever instrument we find most interesting for any given section of a song. I love that you get to do that with this video!”

They started working on it back in the early days of the pandemic, with bassist Ned Gayle, a professional visual artist, modeling each dwelling after the band members’ actual houses and then building the 360-degree neighborhood with Adobe After Effects. It’s a clever use of a lot of free time, and a great cover of a song to which we can all relate these days.

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