Since 1982, The Smiths have been delivering divine melancholia to impressionable ears, ears that revel in the band’s ability to converge joy and accessibility with mournful intimacy. And since 1982, there have been countless artists who were inspired by their indie heroes.
The Smiths have always managed to create a sound that was entirely their own. And because of this, cover versions and reinterpretations of their tracks often seem to fall short.
And this is precisely why when Wells dropped his cover of There Is A Light That Never Goes Out last week it was so damn impressive.
With frontman Alastair Cairns’ vocals sounding like a mature, cigarette-smoked version Morrissey’s and a hauntingly sparse arrangement, there are certainly nods to the original, but in a completely honest, understated way.
Now Wells has dropped a stark video clip that perfectly captures this mood.
Wells reveals a stark video for his stunning cover of The Smiths’ There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – a flowing montage of hand-held footage imbued with a sense isolation and the desire to escape.
“I knew that I wanted to make some kind of video accompaniment that didn’t take away from the music,” Cairns says about the clip. “I thought about the themes already present in the song and the imagery that came to me when I listened to it. I also compared my version with the original and wanted the visuals to reflect the differences.”
The video itself is a compilation of footage shot from inside a car on a rainy night. As the car drive crawls through darkened cityscapes, the blurry, incandescent lights smudge past the windscreen, blurred by streaks of rain.
“The Smiths version tempers its depression with romanticism and yearning. With my version I focused more on the sense of isolation, defeat and the desire to escape,” says Cairns. “I almost think of my version as a conversation that takes place in ones own head rather than with another person.”
Isolation and escapism are certainly captured throughout the dark, continuous journey the viewer embarks on throughout the clip, perfectly depicting life in a busy city, surrounded by myriad faces – faces unseen and without names.
“I felt that a night drive through the city perfectly captures this feeling of being disconnected despite being surrounded by others,” Cairns continues.
“I filmed the clip on a rainy night after work. My housemate Leo drove and I just pointed my phone out his old car’s dirty windshield. It was actually a lot of fun until we got hit by a double decker bus. He didn’t make it.”