words: Gordon Phillips
By now, you’ve heard the “album about a mixtape”—or at least you should have. In January of 2017, Jade Lilitri’s project Oso Oso released The Yunahon Mixtape, a simply spectacular direct-to-Bandcamp release that deservingly found itself on year-end lists at places like ABC News. A year later, Oso Oso returns with the band’s first music video and a signing to Triple Crown Records (Sorority Noise, Foxing, Free Throw)
In case this point has gone understated, Matt Lamourt did a fantastic job with The Yunahon Mixtape’s art. The cover of the record couldn’t be more spot-on for a made-up location full of made-up characters that always happen to be at or around some unidentified, yet clearly critical, body of water. The perfect symmetry of the composition and the bubblegum pastels respectfully evoke Wes Anderson’s work without coming across as being overly derived, a trend that the Mike Suchmann and Lamourt-created music video for “Reindeer Games,” The Yunahon Mixtape’s de facto single, beautifully continues.
Much to any Yunahon faithful’s delight, this video takes place at the damn beach. Shots are sometimes cryptic, but it’s clear that everybody is having a blast. Women in bright bathing suits strike disjointed poses as Lilitri messes with a snorkel. A masked man “Naruto runs” across bleachers as Lilitri squares up for what is supposed to be a jump shot in a game of one-on-one at an outside basketball court. Lilitri flexes. Somebody really good at skateboarding floats above a concrete park. People hide under windswept bed sheets. Lilitri flexes again, laughing this time. The video’s cuts accelerate to sync up to the snare drum downbeats of the pre-chorus before giving way to the fact that we could “just stay here.” Somebody finds sparklers and the video is over.
Any visual accompaniment to The Yunahon Mixtape had to be careful. The album’s fictional setting is a crucial component of its charm and the video for “Reindeer Games” only amplifies that sentiment. If Oso Oso’s new partnership with Triple Crown Records is going to result in more creations like this video, fans should be overjoyed.