Analysing the Layzell Bros success through nostalgic, ‘feel good’ animations
Remember when the object of a music video was to promote something ‘feel good’? Remember when you didn’t wonder whether someone close to the musicians had recently died, and then why on earth were they making a music video at this time, when they were clearly in emotional distress? Or maybe it was just some mysterious abstract pain all musicians are in these days.
Who knows, who cares. All I knew was that I hadn’t seen a fun music video since Zach Galifianakis did a remake of Kanye West’s ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing.
Well, not until The Layzell brothers from Wales hit the scene. Working as animators, illustrators and directors, they’ve been livening up the advertising industry with their ‘far out’ cartoons and animations for Three mobile – which are animated phone conversations where people are transformed in to things like clouds and pineapples, and their most recent success for Harvey Nichols new advertising campaign.
Inevitably, praises be, they hit music industry. Starting with a music video for Mazes song ‘Most Days’ with an animated video of a sort of green triceratops skater teenager and a lot of other strange skater creatures, to a Crystal Antlers animated video and now a fantastic psychedelic trip for Adam Buxton’s (Adam and Joe show) new music video inspired by The Beatles Yellow submarine.
As with Alice and Wonderland, The Magic Roundabout, The Simpsons and a lot of fun, seemingly childish creations; at first glance that can appear all they are, a lot of fun and nothing more. But if you pay attention to the Layzell Brothers music videos, and all their shorts (less so with the advertising campaigns but it’s not a perfect world) with as greater absorption as you would if you’re watching Rhianna massacre anyone around, including herself with pretty much anything she can lay her claws on; you will discover something startling. They’re actually quite “deep”.
– It’s this vague fascination with the glitches of physics affecting reality combined with archetypal images of pyramids and giant cats, and hitting our collective unconscious with relentless nostalgia –
The Lazyell Bros tripping you in to parallel universes in their animations is no accident, they may not have the attitude of ‘intellectuals’ – thank god, but they certainly have a fascination with quantum physics saying they study “text books and stuff”.
It’s this vague fascination with the glitches of physics affecting reality combined with archetypal images of pyramids and giant cats, and hitting our collective unconscious with relentless nostalgia – skate boarding, smoking a mysterious herb, anarchy, vomiting, running from authority – with the commitment to a sort of automatic, unconscious drawing style that produces some incredibly bizarre looking characters, sort of like Jim Morrison’s automatic poetry in visual form, with a sprinkle of joy. And what fun that is to watch. What fun for your brain to be looping in and out of these fantastic colorful realms, what a relief not to be watching some woman or man suffering some abstract pain, or aggrandized self-delusion. How nice to be watching a skating triceratops guy, please musicians, let there be more, don’t feed the pain.
Words by Jade Angeles Fitton