Austin Post-Punk Troupe Single Lash Pay Tribute to the Commedia Dell’Arte in Their Video for “Sugar Armadillo”

Did you feel afraid to whisper?

It’s such cold comfort but it’s real

The weight of close encroaching absence

Too paralyzed to make appeals

Commedia dell’arte is a form of Italian theatre characterized by masked “types” and improvised performances based on scenarios. Originating in the 16th century, it features stock characters like the crafty servant Arlecchino and the foolish Pantalone, blending slapstick comedy with satirical themes, influencing European dramatic traditions and modern improv comedy.

Austin-based ensemble Single Lash pays tribute to the Old World theatrical tradition with Sugar Armadillo,  off of their latest LP Ladida, as well as “stylistic North Star Steve Strange of the band Visage.”

Don’t be fooled, however: this heaping spoonful of saccharine goth guitar pop hides a bitter pill. The acerbic lyrics delve into a profound emotional conflict, marked by feelings of isolation and rejection through stifling absence and paralysis. One is unable to seek intimacy, yet remains tenaciously attached to life. As previous affections fade into faint infatuations and life’s chill deepens, the speaker endures a lingering, albeit fading, grief but steadfastly maintains their grip on existence.

Sugar Armadillo is a post-punk anthem tinged with melancholy, striking a chord with anyone nursing a broken heart. Admirers of 1980s underground icons like Orange Juice and Catherine Wheel will find much to appreciate in its catchy, introspective depths.

In the music video directed with flair by Faiza Kracheni, Nadeau transforms a personal trauma into a grotesque, carnival-like spectacle of absurd pantomime. Donning makeup reminiscent of the late Steve Strange and bringing to mind Ashes To Ashes-era Bowie, he portrays a narrative of falling in love, encountering a mischievous cat, enduring electric shocks, and ultimately collapsing before an unforgiving audience.

Faiza Kracheni’s directorial approach lends a charmingly handcrafted quality to the project, grounding the loftier themes with a touch of simplicity. The video, imbued with the communal spirit of a traveling theatre troupe, is brought to life through extraordinary passion and effort. It renders Sugar Armadillo with the disheveled grandeur of a vampire drifting through the ages, combining the ephemeral with the eternal.

Nadeau suggests that these exaggerated performances are not unlike the daily emotions and personas we adopt. This reflection holds a particular resonance for artists, who often mine their deepest and most private experiences for public consumption. Through this lens, the video blurs the line between authentic selfhood and artistic portrayal, challenging viewers to consider the fluid boundary between genuine and performed identities.

Watch the video for “Sugar Armadillo”:

Dispensing melodic soundscapes that shimmer yet are laced with a biting humor, Austin’s Single Lash offers a guitar-fueled, icily intellectual form of art-rock. Their sound, reminiscent of The Chameleons, Japan, The Teardrop Explodes, Belle and Sebastian, and Echo and the Bunnymen, originated as an art school project helmed by singer-songwriter Nicolas Nadeau. The band has since evolved into a formidable quartet, celebrated for their emotionally charged live shows.

Ladida is out now. Order Here

Follow Single Lash:

Alice Teeple

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

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