Des Moines, Iowa, has long been best known to Midwesterners for its luxurious truck stops and proliferation of corporate restaurants, which line the fertile interstate terrain that wraps itself like a thick blanket around the city’s fringes. There is also, of course, Slipknot. And now there’s Gloom Balloon.
Spearheaded by multi-instrumentalist Patrick Tape Fleming, Gloom Balloon‘s new album, So Bergman Uses Bach to Get His Point Across, I Feel Like I Have Chosen Rock But at What Cost, riffs on a classic Beatles album (you know which one) and the track “All My Feelings for You” takes some inspiration from a divine latter-day Fab Four cut but the sound of the new track, for which Tape Fleming has filmed a new video, is unmistakably its own tune.
Sure, it’s easy to imagine that Jeff Lynne secreted himself away somewhere in Iowa, called up Ringo Starr to play some strict timekeeping drums, threw in some Lennon/McCartney humor, then added doses of lo-fi aesthetics that don’t sound so lo-fi after all. It’s as if McCartney, the 1970 solo debut by Sir Paul, were recorded some 50 years later after he’d had some time to absorb “You Get What You Give”, the deliciously uplifting 1998 single from the short-lived New Radicals deep into his psyche.
But, really, Tape Fleming has delivered a beautiful song, the kind of thing that would have been an MTV hit in the glory days of MTV and stands to infect plenty of music-hungry minds in the age of isolation and the growing fear that society itself is on the precipice of utter collapse. If, as Shakespeare didn’t say, music be the balm to soothe the fears of societal annihilation, then play on.
Tape Fleming says of the song, “It’s about falling in love. You know you can’t be wise and in love at the same time. Love makes you irrational, love makes you crazy, love makes you excited, and love makes you a dreamer. Love can make you feel like all is perfect in the world or at least believe it could be!” He adds, “I was thinking about the Beatles song, ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’, off of Let It Be, and I was thinking Paul never actually tells you what his feeling is, it’s deep inside, and he can’t hide it, but never says what it is! But then there’s the part where John comes in and sings how everybody had a hard year, and everybody had a good time, everybody had a wet dream, everybody saw the sunshine. This was me sitting down at the piano and just coming up with the feelings I had in my head, the first things I could think of.”
When it came time to make the video, he focused on current events to inform the visuals. “I wanted to show what it was like to make a music video during the pandemic and social distancing. I’ve been trying to make a music video for every song on this record, and so you kind of have to play all the parts when you’re making music videos yourself,” he notes. “You have to be the star, you have to be the extras, you have to be the director, and you have to be the lighting guy. So you see the music video actually being made in the music video. Which is a very film history thing to do, and the song talks about how, ‘Fellini couldn’t come up with this plot twist,’ so I wanted it to be like a movie set where everything is going wrong, and we are seeing it all go wrong!”
So Bergman Uses Bach to Get His Point Across, I Feel Like I Have Chosen Rock But at What Cost releases on 25 September via Grand Phony Records.