On November 20, New York based indie pop rock band Walking Shapes released the video for their newest single, “Horse,” which is taken from their debut album, Mixtape, Vol. 1, released on No Shame Records on July 30, 2013. The quintet is composed of Jesse Kotansky on guitar, violin and vocals; Nathaniel Hoho on vocals and guitar; Jacob Generalli on keys and vocals; Dan Krysa on bass and vocals; and Christopher Heinz on drums.
According to Jesse Kotansky, “The video is about the dichotomy of the world, and politics, squashed into a playground setting.” Directed by Eamon O’Rourke, the six-and-a-half minute video contains an all-adolescent cast featuring a group of rebel children who enact their revenge on a group of schoolyard bullies. The protagonist and lead rebel, portrayed by young actress Lucia Ryan, is first seen atop a brown horse in tattered garb, with the band’s triangle logo painted on her forehead.
Suddenly, we are on the playground. Lucia is reading Lord Of The Flies while her schoolmates are being tormented and ridiculed. Eventually, the bullies aim their focus on her and steal the book, after which she defiantly screams, “give me my book back!” and the lead bully, played by young actor Brandon Barkowsky, begins to burn the book. It is the act of book-burning which ultimately sparks the uprising of rebel schoolchildren and leads into the fantastical portion of the music video.
Lucia runs from the playground, now donning tattered clothing. Through fields and into the forest, she finally slumps down and buries her face in her arms to cry. She is approached by the group of children from the playground who were also being bullied, now all donning similar tattered clothing. One of the rebel children hands back her book, only partially damaged from the bully’s flame. Apparently, her act of defiance sparked the other bullied children into action, retrieving her book before it burned to ash.
At this point, Lucia and her army of rebels approach a tower, where the bullies are having a celebratory feast, surrounded by toys stolen from children on the playground. Outside, Lucia rallies her forces – complete with a fighting montage and the application of facial war paint – before storming the tower. The rebels bust into the tower, interrupting the bullies’ celebration, and swiftly exact their revenge. The rebels wipe out the bullies and a final showdown between Lucia and Brandon is seen.
Lucia and the rebels stand victorious. Suddenly, we are back on the playground and Lucia is standing over Brandon, while he quivers in fear. She crosses her arms and shakes her head at him, proving that brains (and a group of fed-up children) conquer brawn. In the last clip, Lucia is seen atop the brown horse once more, which brings the video full circle, and reinforces the song’s metaphor, “ride your horse to a better land,” which she and her band of schoolchildren rebels clearly did.
The band’s Nathaniel Hoho says, “‘Horse’ was written in reflection to friends of ours who were very active in the occupy movement. It’s inspiring to see everyone so passionate about change for the greater good of people and made me realize that if you want to change in any aspect of life, be passionate and active towards changing it. Never mind the suppressors, find your focus, change starts with you.” Change indeed starts with you. Ride your horse to a better land.[hr color=”light-grey” width=”100″ border_width=”50″ ]
Walking Shapes’ ‘Mixtape (Volume 1),’ available now as a FREE DOWNLOAD on the band’s website:
Walking Shapes on the web
— Derek O’Neal | @theglasstorch