For new single, “Border Crossing”, DJ Shadow has turned in a synapse-frying mixture of agit-prop video art and ‘80s VCR nostalgia, with a healthy dose of Tea Party baiting stirred in for good measure. All cut to a borderline thrash metal & beats soundtrack; the latter brew not as dubious as some critics have been making out of late when reviewing new album The Less You Know, The Better. Granted, the track is hardly bleeding edge; but played out in clubs “Border Crossing” will, well, rock.
If you’ve caught the recent buzz about Cults’ smart appropriation of Jonestown Massacre news archive for their “Go Outside” promo, you’ll instantly get what Shadow is attempting. On one hand, a far from subtle swipe at America’s xenophobic knee-jerk right to detain policy down Mexico way (as the video flashes up: “brown skin is not probable cause”). On the other, a decent enough stab at raising headlining controversy: Should pop videos question social issues? Or are we all just too tubed-out—like a nation of mind-blown Beavis & Buttheads—to question what’s going on?
Treated to within an inch of its play-heads to look like some dug-up cassette of mouldy Z-movie exploitation, the clip will never make TV screens—due to its intense use of strobe-cutting (which broadcasters will be duty-bound to avoid, for fear of triggering epileptic fits)—so the clip’s true motivations are moot. But as a checklist of cool—and a welcome, dare I say it, intelligent, escape from lap-dancers-in-helicopters hip-hop clips—“Border Crossing” is quality eye-candy.