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A Mask and Pale Visage — Charm School Debut Oldschool Post-Punk Video for “Simulacra”

A Funeral parade of roses
All thumbing their noses
Getting played by AI lust
But don’t make a fuss
It’s unanimous

In a magnetic shift from the norm, musician Andrew Rinehart is setting the stage ablaze with Charm School, a fresh auditory endeavour he’s launched in collaboration with musical cohorts Matt Filip, Drew English, and Jason Bemis Lawrence. The quartet is eager to introduce us to their latest sonic offering, “Simulacra,” a precursor to the forthcoming debut album Finite Jest, scheduled to drop on July 21st.

Rinehart, who has earned a reputation for his folksy song craft, most notably through his recent harmonious interchange with Bonnie “Prince” Billy, is steering Charm School into uncharted territories. The new direction embraces the grittier, more ferocious tones of punk and hardcore, injecting a robust dose of adrenaline into the ensemble’s sound.

Simulacra“, with its pulsating rhythm and seductive sprechstimme, serves as a razor-sharp dissection of contemporary politics. Emanating from a place where the B-52s, PIL, The Fall, and Gang of Four might find a shared sonic playground, the beat compels a dance as it drills into the zeitgeist.

Rinehart and company intricately weave in themes borrowed from Jean Baudrillard’s mind-bending masterwork, Simulacra and Simulation. The track offers a pointed critique of our society’s deepening sense of alienation, intensified by the relentless exposure to illusory depictions of reality. It also subtly insinuates a prescription of antipsychotics for our metaphorically schizophrenic society.

But the existential journey doesn’t end there. The lyrics reveal a conspicuous nod to Aldous Huxley’s dystopian magnum opus, Brave New World. This unsettling allusion draws a sombre picture of our collective predisposition to seek solace in numbness, seemingly preparing ourselves for a future dominated by artificial intelligence. The commentary, while chilling, rings with a resonance that would otherwise hard to shake off…but it’s got a killer dance beat!

“’Simulacra’ is our attempt at skewering the politics of now over a good dance beat,” says Rinehart. “…The song addresses our society’s profound sense of disconnection resulting from our constant interaction with fabricated representations of reality. Aka the disquieting fact that these counterfeit depictions of life are increasingly valued over reality itself, and the even more troubling reality that social media companies are profiting handsomely from this exploitative situation.”

Simulacra” is accompanied by a DIY music video, shot within the creative confines of Hype Production Studios in Louisville, KY. While its structure adheres to the conventional blueprint of a performance video, an uncanny aesthetic twist sets it apart.

Clad in spectral white masks and facepaint, the band’s visage cloaked in an intriguing anonymity, Charm School takes the viewer on a symbolic journey. The cryptic adornments serve as stark metaphors for conformity and the suppression of identity. A chilling decree echoes through the visual narrative: fall in line.

Watch the video for “Simulacra” below:

The video’s clever subtext becomes an indirect indictment against homogeneity, the stifling of deviation, and the curtailment of self-expression. Despite its understated delivery, the message strikes a powerful chord, subtly warning of the perils of surrendering individuality to the iron fist of societal expectation. A vivid – and chilling – demonstration, indeed.

Listen to and find the track on Bandcamp here:

Simulacra” was tracked and mixed by Nick Roeder, and features drum programming by Matia Simovich. Both Simovich and Steve Albini did alternate mixes of “Simulacra” which will come out later this year.

Follow Charm School:

Alice Teeple

Alice Teeple is a photographer, multidisciplinary artist, and writer. She is not in Tin Machine.

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