Incongruity can be ingenious. This feels like the tone Sluka is taking on for the aesthetic choices within “Vampire’s Ball” — the single and video released by the prolific San Diego group lead by Christopher Sluka.
With a lifetime of making music and eleven studio albums behind him, Sluka is no stranger to epic variety. “Vampire’s Ball” melds the gothic tone of the title (and Sluka himself as he plays piano and stares into the camera) with the important movements of these unprecedented times. Empty parking lots and basketball courts shift to stark images of Black Lives Matter protests in San Diego. The video even breaks away from the song to give space to the chanting protesters at the end of the clip.
The song itself is otherworldly — and not just because our own world is so currently strange. “Vampire’s Ball” holds melody with grandiose gestures. A melancholy piano tune shifts into something much more electronic. The image shifts from grand piano to awesome stage. The art rock group balances the vampiric lyrics with power-held notes and an ever-present sense of growth.