Native New York alt-rockers The Strokes have just released their first official music video in over three years for the song “Threat of Joy” off of their latest EP, Future Present Past. This video is the first the band has recorded all together since 2011’s “Taken for a Fool,” and contains everything you’d expect on top of a few surprises: The Strokes playing as a unit, looking happier than they have in a while, blatant political overtones, an intricate if somewhat confusing plot and even some acting and choreography.
The clip was directed by Warren Fu, a longtime collaborator of frontman Julian Casablancas, who has worked with Casablancas extensively throughout his career, directing videos for The Strokes, The Voidz, his solo projects and his contributions to Daft Punk’s “Instant Crush”. The video was released earlier today exclusively on Noisey, the VICE offshoot that specializes in producing and premiering content from offbeat, underground artists. While the Strokes are far from being “underground,” boasting a cult following that’s lasted for well over a decade now, astute listeners can detect a fundamental change in the direction of the band into edgier, more experimental territory, beginning with their re-signing to Casablancas’ indie label, Cult.
If the Strokes’ music is becoming increasingly avant-garde, the unusual video for “Threat of Joy” has a surreal, perplexing nature to match. In a departure from the norm for the band, who have made concerted efforts in the past to keep their videos as simple, straightforward and non-commercialized as possible, this latest clip is a little more nuanced and a little more playful than their typical music video.
The opening scene features a not-too-subtle allusion to their video for the lead single from Future Present Past, “OBLIVIUS,” which never saw the light of day due to heavy, controversial political content that resulted in its shutdown. The “Threat of Joy” video satirizes the process that got the video pulled, featuring a SWAT team that kidnaps both the video director and Casablancas himself, a group of Wall Street suits in exaggerated pig masks trying to get their hands on the “OBLIVIUS” footage and a mysterious woman fighting to keep it out of their grasp. It even features Casablancas doing some dancing in a dashiki. You’ll have to see it to believe it, which you can and should above.