David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

Latest Work
    • When I See An Elephant Fly...This unusual film promoting breast cancer charity Wear It Pink was created as part of an ambitious project which made use of the power of crowd-sourcing.
    • In Jane Goodall's footstepsThis gorgeous film for Google shows how they've mapped the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania.
    • Not winging it but Wanging itH&M has an uneven record when it comes to advertising, but this spot is definitely one to set its standards by.
    • In deep waterThis excellent public information film very effectively brings home the fact that weather conditions on our coastlines can change rapidly - indeed, in seconds.
    • Dancing on glassFKA twigs has pretty much defined the blurry boundary between promo and commercial with this collaboration between herself and Glass from Google.
    • And.. stretchIn this impressive ad for Replay jeans, there's actually some purpose to the lust-inducing choreography.
    • The ice man comethHaving built his Ice Bar in the previous - and fantastic - ad, Jean-Claude Van Damme continues his search for something that matches the refreshment offered by a Coors Light.
    • Place your order nowThis ad for Amazon Fire not only entertains but has its message firmly at the heart of the aspect that's most amusing.
    • For Direc TV, read smart TVDirec TV keeps nailing it... once again, they've served up a delicious feast of an ad rather than a nuked TV meal.
    • Ode to ToysA pyroclastic flow of colourful toys erupts in a sterile, all-white bedroom, defying gravity as Ode to Joy rings out in this ad for Argos.

THE BLACK BOX

JASON:

Have you ever noticed how many directors have been identified by Shots as 'One To Watch'?

ALICE:

Nearly as many as have appeared in Saatchis' Young Directors thing. You have to wonder what it says about a director if he or she hasn't appeared in one of these lists.

JASON:

Probably that their last birthday cake was well candled.

ALICE:

Huh?

JASON:

They're old.

ALICE:

Oh.


Wear It Pink
"Elephants"
60s
22 October 2014

This unusual film promoting breast cancer charity Wear It Pink was created as part of an ambitious project which made use of the power of crowd-sourcing. It was one of four films selected from the many that were sent in and - of these - it's certainly the most striking.

An animated pink elephant flies through the sky in goggles. Two other animated ellies, quietly drinking at a water hole, see the first zoom past and decide to give it a go themselves.

It's abstract in the extreme, and we admire the way it takes a very leisurely 50+ seconds on the elephants before getting to the message itself.

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Googlemaps
"Jane Goodall's Footsteps"
2 mins 40s
22 October 2014

Google's ambition knows no bounds and one of their recent projects enables us to take a 'street view' of the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. This bewitching film by James W Griffiths illustrates the beauty of the place.

The words of Jane Goodall lend a certain gravity to Griffith's marvellous pictures and - together with a suitably stirring score - they create an immensely moving piece of film.

It's always impressive to see our evolutionary cousins in their native habitat and Goodall's account of her first trip here to the region in 1961 offers a fantastic perspective. If she got lost in those days, she would climb a tree so she could orient herself using the lake. It's amazing to think that a modern-day Jane Goodall could use her phone instead, and that we can follow the path of her pioneering trek using any device that can connect to the internet.

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H & M
"Alexander Wang"
2 mins
23 October 2014

The high street fashion retailer has an uneven record when it comes to advertising, but this spot is definitely one to set its standards by.

Promoting a new collection by designer Alexander Wang, it focuses on the upmarket, sporty nature of the items by giving the ad a video game vibe where the characters can somersault through walls and perform other impossible feats without breaking sweat, while gritty, bassy electronic music sets the tone.

The clothes suggest you have to have an impossibly fit bod to wear them without looking like you've been bested in a fight against medical supportwear and a large duvet, but the ad makes you feel you might just chance it anyway. Stylish, sassy and smart.

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Coastguard
"Fraserburgh Beach"
57s
23 October 2014

This excellent public information film very effectively brings home the fact that weather conditions on our coastlines can change rapidly - indeed, in seconds.

Contrasting imagery of a calm, sunny day on Fraserburgh Beach with a frantic recorded call from the same location days earlier, it really does make us think twice about paying better heed to the nature of the sea.

A woman's voice can be heard begging the coastguard to hurry - there are three children in the water and "they're really struggling" - while on the shore, in different weather, a mother plays aeroplanes with her baby and a young girl draws in the sand.

It grabs your attention and won't let go; not until you know what happens. And it's not till that moment, when the supers come up, that you realise it's never occurred to you that you need to ask for the coastguard when you dial 999 in such circumstances... a brief delay in clarification which could make all the difference to the outcome.

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Google Glass
"FKA Twigs"
2 mins 12s
22 October 2014

FKA twigs has pretty much defined the blurry boundary between promo and commercial with this collaboration between herself and Glass from Google.

Despite the meltdown of the traditional business model in the music industry, we've still tended to perceive the idea of an artist receiving money in exchange for the use of their work in advertising as a sell-out. But in this age of fragmenting markets and digital distribution / piracy, musicians have to fund their work however they can.

Until now, this has resulted in the uneasy meshing of promos with product placement that doesn't really know what it's supposed to be doing.

But what FKA twigs has shown here is that far from this confused, unsatisfactory compromise or the tedious pairing of track with clichéd trope, collaborating with brands is a way to open up whole new areas of creativity.

US agency Anomaly came up with the concept of a series of shorts for Glass documenting "creative and pioneering individuals as they experiment with potential uses of the new technology".

By giving these individuals - like FKA twigs - the autonomy to then produce their own innovative ways to convey what Glass does, we're given something that is art in its own right (or potentially so). It doesn't patronise the consumer, it brings a wider audience to the artist, and the agency effectively has acted as a broker; bringing product and artist together to inform us rather than force on us a list of bullet points the client insists on.

twigs has combined two tracks from her début album in this commercial, which gives this a taut and restless tone as she uses Glass to search for choreography references to try out via images, music playback and video. This feels intelligent, relevant and instantly iconic. Whether you 'get' FKA twigs or not, you certainly get the sense that we're stepping into new and exciting territory here.

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QUICK SEARCH

Recent Promos

The Staves
"Blood I Bled"
4 mins 36s
17 Oct 2014
A swathe of different stories are told in this video for The Staves' new track. Shot almost on the fly in Mumbai, these tales are densely interwoven and not always coherently linear - but that's part of the film's pleasure and charm. The sense of intrigue which builds through the slightly chaotic revelations compel you to watch again until you start to unravel the strands a little more.

Kasabian
"Stevie"
4 mins 47s
16 Oct 2014
Kasabian's tale of psychopath Stevie, features a video of a baby grown in a lab reminiscent of the eerie black room in Under the Skin. We leap forward in time to see him at the age of ten being put through various experiments by menacing men in gas masks who seem to be attempting to stop him responding to pain. But young Stevie has other plans.

Stromae
"Ave Cesaria"
5 mins 57s
15 Oct 2014
The latest number from the superb Stromae comes with a video from director Henry Scholfield which feels home-made, joyous, and yet somehow tinged with melancholy. Stromae is playing live at a family event (we presume) in a rather austere town hall, and the glimpses of everyone present are reminders of our fleeting existence even as the gathering laughs and dances.

Pharrell WIlliams
"Gust of Wind"
4 mins 55s
9 Oct 2014
The fossilised remnants of Daft Punk's helmets stand watch over oriental dancing girls doing a bit of gravity-defying twirling Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-style. It's certainly not the kind of thing you'd expect Edgar Wright to have directed, but this is indeed his work - and it has to be said that while not massively exciting, it's miles better than the track itself.

tUnE-yArDs
"Real Thing"
3 mins 25s
8 Oct 2014
tUnE-yArDs makes some fantastic music and while this isn't one of her best, it comes with an energetic and frankly bonkers video from director Tom Jobbins that captures her happy eccentricity very well. Three female mannequins discover multi-coloured plastic body parts in a box while Garbus sings through a hole in the bottom of it.

Liars
"I'm No Gold"
3 mins 48s
7 Oct 2014
LA band Liars put out some intriguing stuff from time to time, along with some memorable videos (Mess on a Mission; No1 Against the Rush) - and this fits right into that category. Lead singer Angus Andrew is filmed in close-up like a nightmare made (almost) flesh in a discordant track seemingly borne out of a bad speed trip. Insidiously catchy.

Lido
"Money"
3 mins 32s
7 Oct 2014
The track isn't hugely exciting, but we like what director Jam Sutton has done with the video. Overblown opulence - such as you might have seen in one of Saddam Hussein's notorious palaces - is shown succumbing to decay and destruction, rendered valueless, as the gilded guns underline the fact that you can't take it with you.

Speed of Snakes
"Backbone of Night"
5 mins 44s
18 Sep 2014
This was apparently made on a budget of just 5,000 euros, so props to everyone concerned for achieving such a polished result. The video pays homage to the sci-fi movies of the 80s; combining the tropes of dystopian futureworlds and the creation of the perfect woman to great effect for new band Speed of Snakes, whose members also feature in this.

Metronomy
"Month of Sundays"
3 mins 30s
11 Sep 2014
This disorientating video for Metronomy's distinctive folk-pop track Month of Sundays is a superb piece of filming. Pinwheeling deliriously, its weightless feel is in direct contrast with the setting - slabby, monolothic residential blocks from the Brutalist school of architecture. If this is Cooper's debut music video, we have a lot to look forward to from him in the future.

Kwabs
"Walk"
3 mins 34s
10 Sep 2014
Kwabs' popularity continues to rise, and this soulful crowdpleaser is likely to contribute to his ascent. Singing about the best way to treat life - roll with whatever hand it deals you - he bounces through the city as his surroundings throb with the energy he gives off. Director David Mould does a great job of capturing the tone.

Glass Animals
"Hazey"
4 mins 01s
9 Sep 2014
Sensual, hypnotic and slightly alien, this video for Glass Animals' Hazey is the perfect accompaniment for the track. We love the instruments and arrangements on all their songs, but sometimes the songs themselves don't quite hit the spot for us. This video, though, with its focus on the fluidly double-jointed dancers, makes us want to listen and watch again and again.

JUCE
"Burning Up"
4 mins 12s
10 Sep 2014
Girlband JUCE are making quite a name for themselves, and this sunny number - filmed at Brixton Splash - has a real feelgood factor. Vibrant and laidback all at once, the atmosphere is captured perfectly by director Jess Colquhoun as one of those magical sunny London days brings everyone out into the streets to celebrate.

Alt-J
"Every Other Freckle"
3 mins 36s
10 Sep 2014
Alt-J's new album promises to be a stunner if the three releases so far are anything to go by. This latest comes with not one but two terrific promos: a dedicated 'boy' version and a dedication 'girl' version. We've gone with 'girl', but if you want to see the other, click on the boy version and decide for yourself which you prefer.

Daphne Guinness
"Evening in Space"
4 mins 12s
9 Sep 2014
THIS is why we have the British class system. How else could such OTT eccentricity ever be summonsed into existence? Former opera singer Daphne Guinness - blanketed from the grittier side of the world by birthright and genetics - has forayed into music videos in order to promote her debut album, out in September... and this piece of bonkersness is the result.

Banks
"Beggin for Thread"
4 mins 15s
6 Sep 2014
Banks smoulders with sensual menace in this video for her new track, Beggin for Thead. The thread she's begging for is "to sew up the hole you ripped in my head", which gives you a hint of the mood she's in; and the deliciously chiaroscuro lighting is an apt fit. Red-hued dancers provide additional tension and invoke the idea that dark doings are afoot.

La Roux
"Kiss And Not Tell"
3 mins 59s
8 Sep 2014
This latest track from La Roux's tardy follow-up album, Trouble in Paradise, is insanely catchy. Wonderfully cheesy production design based on the garish styling of late night chat line ads sets the tone, while the camera switches between shots of dated phones and La Roux's profile, which summons up Low-era Bowie all buzzed up on confectionery not cocaine.

Cloudboat
"Hideaway"
4 mins 31s
6 Sep 2014
Tom Clarke and Sam Ricketts - Cloud Boat - sound quite a lot like Local Natives fronted by James Blake. That's not in any way a bad thing. This is one of the more plangent tracks on Model of You and comes with by a video in which a man who needs to come to terms with a break-up finds himself accompanied by a yeti-like monster for a while.

Ten Walls
"Walking with Elephants"
3 mins 01s
6 Sep 2014
This track starts promisingly, but unfortunately never quite gets out of its blocks and beyond the intro. Nonetheless, the very able director Nez has managed to create and intriguing video to go with it, featuring black / whitescreen-clad figures who, after running through a wintry coastal landscape, jump into the sea and propel their way along like humanoid dolphins.

clipping.
"Inside Out"
3 mins 35s
6 Sep 2014
This is the second time the innovative trio has collaborated with Carlos Lopez Estrada, and we can see why. The off-kilter feel of both Work Work and Inside Out is something Estrada knows how to enhance; here, a swaggering dude walks through the night-time streets pouring forth lyrics about the war outside, while in the place of his head a perpetual eruption of the things he's talking about issues from his empty collar. Terrific.

The Presets
"No Fun"
5 mins 49s
6 Sep 2014
This track from Aussie dance duo The Presets sounds like a cross between Matthew Dear and Heaven 17. Crystal clear synths, lethal hooks and a throbbing pulse add to the electric 80s vibe and there's a compelling video, all suggestion and abstraction, luring you along for the ride. But that's not all: there's an interactive version into the bargain.

The Weeknd
"Often"
4 mins 09s
26 Aug 2014
Director Sam Pilling creates some shots that are as smooth and immersive as a Valium bath in this promo for The Weeknd, but unfortunately, because it's a promo for The Weeknd, it also features lotz o' laydeez getting it on and disrobing as they stalk around some luxury hotel suite. Evidently their minds are unhinged by desire for the singer with the Accidental Hair.

Peace
"Lost on Me"
3 mins 49s
19 Aug 2014
We rather like the way this appears to be having a dig at the mindlessness of boy bands. The group are rehearsing a routine with the aid of cue cards, and when an accident on set distracts their choreographer it doesn't occur to them to stop practising. They veer out of the studio with their click-and-walk moves, and slowly head towards their doom. Just wish this came from a more subversive outfit than Peace - it has the potential to be a very cool idea indeed.

The Kooks
"Forgive and Forget"
3 mins 27s
18 Aug 2014
Well, well, well. The buzz surrounding The Kooks' reinvention is completely justified so far. After the excellent first two singles from their soon-to-be-released sophomore album Listen, here comes this equally infectious third: a joyous, funky, gospelly romp with a delicious video from Ivana Bobic. Atmospherically lit, it incorporates the pre-cinematic zoetrope designed to give the illusion of movement... and what could be more uplifting than a vision of space-age space chicks tricked out like angels of the future?

Ibeyi
"River"
3 mins 45s
12 Aug 2014
This is one of those rare times when a video doesn't just enhance a track, it gets right inside it and makes us see the very essence of the music. It's an extraordinary song to start with - the voices of twin sisters washing over the riverbed of compressed percussion - and director Ed Morris has brought its beguiling, siren qualities to the surface.

Dolman
"On Stoney Ground"
4 mins 18s
6 Aug 2014
This striking video dramatises the story of a rugby club, most of whose young players went on to die in World War I. It's an appropriate theme as the centenary of the war's start has just been marked, and reflects the war references in the track itself, by Dolman - a rather impressive project featuring musicians linked with Portishead.

Recent Promos

David Reviews - Lovely Lenzie Ltd, Woodbourne House, Seven Sisters, Lenzie, G66 3AW. Telephone: +44 141 776 7766. Editor: Jason Stone.