First Watch: Chastity Belt, 'Lydia'

A scene from Chastity Belt's new video for "Lydia." (YouTube)
A scene from Chastity Belt's new video for "Lydia." (YouTube)

The not-so-secret weapon wielded on Seattle punk group Chastity Belt's debut album is performative lassitude. Time To Go Home is full of slow, hazy songs whose tempos and degrees of exerted energy are an exact inversion of their weighty subject matter. Feminist political statements are couched in eye rolls, designed to combat sexism by belittling it. The record is mellow, yet cohesive — so an interesting thing happens when one of those songs is plucked from its context and turned into a single, as is the case with "Lydia," the video for which we're premiering here: That languorous vibe comes across as downright pretty.

Chastity Belt's music isn't abrasive, and never ugly. But "Lydia" in particular uses a guitar line that approaches sunny, and is the only one of the album's 10 tracks to feature Lydia Lund's vocals, which is softer than that of front woman Julia Shapiro. For the video, director Shaun Libman married the vulnerability and accessibility of Lund's voice with equally dreamy visuals. Libman describes the artistry of the video's set —constructed from hand-cut paper scenery, and filmed in striking black and white — as "an experiment. We were hoping we could shoot the paper in such a way that it would look dreamy and strange, both delicate and sturdy. Every shape and curve...embodies the emotional state of the main character."

Time To Go Home is a punk album, and "Lydia" is a punk song. But Lund's voice, as well as the song and video it inspired, have a softness and warm spaciousness that stand out from the rest of the record's practiced cool.

Time To Go Home is available now on Hardly Art.

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