Last October, we wrote about Misty Coast‘s “Eleven Months,” which was one of the very best songs we heard in 2018. The Bergen-based duo just released its new album, Melodaze, which “Eleven Months” opens; “Loophole,” the track that follows it, now has a music video that maintains Misty Coast’s established standard of excellence. In fact, it may well be the best music video we’ve written about so far this year.

The very moment the “Loophole” video begins, Misty Coast makes it clear that it’s willing to spend ample money on professional production value. Time-lapse footage of a popular bar doused in neon lighting and the sounds of people talking loudly open the video. This scenery appears for a full five seconds before “Loophole” begins playing, its drums-only intro immediately grabbing the ears of anyone watching the video (or anyone looking at their phones or otherwise distracted while this video is playing).

Frontperson Linn Frøkedal walks into the bar with simultaneous swagger and unease, the slow opening and closing of the door behind her providing a delirious contrast to the anxious look on her face. All around her, people are drinking, eating, smiling, and playing board games as the slow, shoegaze-esque lurch of “Loophoole” enters the room aside her. But when she puts on her headphones and begins singing, the world around her fades into a psychedelic, multicolor blur, a space into which she can escape from any amount of pressure.

This blur surrounds Frøkedal even as she moves about the bar, and it seems that the moment she gets up from her seat, her blur effuses the whole room. Before the second verse begins, a faint background of rapidly moving, classically psychedelic images and shapes flutters into vision, via which the inherently horrifying, trippy qualities of the many seemingly innocuous decorations outlining the bar become apparent. Frøkedal eventually discovers a guitar suspended from the ceiling, which she begins playing as drummer Richard Myklebust emerges from the crowd. Their joint energy captivates and mystifies bargoers, who move in and out of the room over the course of the night.

As Misty Coast wraps up its performance of the acidic, slowly unfurling majesty that is “Loophole,” Frøkedal takes her headphones off. Once she does, the clatter of the bar becomes audible. Her headphones, the video implies, are her ultimate refuge, her shield. With her defenses so high, it’s remarkable that “Loophole” and its video are so disarming.

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