In 1968, Philip K. Dick published a novel set in post-apocalyptic San Francisco, where Ken Franklin calls his original home. He now lives in Echo Park, where he began indie pop group Dutch Party. It has been two years since their debut EP and over this time they have clearly developed a sense of whimsy; although, yes, their newest single is also named after a film set in LA after nuclear war has poisoned the planet.
Making its debut below, “Blade Runner” is an homage to both the visual aspect of Ridley Scott’s film, as well as to Dick’s story through subversive references. The new video is told practically all at night, with an edgy film noir style, and includes characters whose identities are easily hidden, much to the misfortune of our protagonist. In the original print story, emotionless androids identical to people come to earth to extend their use-by dates and avoid ‘expiring’ by blending in with the remaining human populace. The original title of the print was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? which Dutch Party put in a different perspective in the opening lines:
“Do you dream of electric sheep
when you’re lying in your bed?
Is the real world more important than sleep
when it’s all in your own head?”
If Franklin is speaking to us, are we the androids? It would then make sense that the track is so pleasant and sunny, because we may be programmed to enjoy it. Or more reasonably, it’s those distinctly west coast guitar hooks, coupled with intervals of twinkling keys that really make this an earworm. In this track, Dutch Party pulls off surf rock, retaining the same level of lyrical storytelling as showcased on more baroque pop centered songs featured on their Astral Nights EP.
There is another piece of evidence supporting the claim that we are the machines: we can’t be human and not clearly remember lyrics to the classic Beatles song, “Fixing a Hole.” Dutch Party incorporates a misheard lyric into “Blade Runner,” even admitting, “that’s not the one he sang.” Though the lyrics were wrong, the intention felt accurate enough, especially given that the next verse in the Beatles track suggests that he also then has no sense of right or wrong. Perhaps Dutch Party are trying to reveal that they themselves are androids. If they are, let’s hope their expiration dates aren’t until far into the future, so we’ll get to hear their upcoming EP, Combat Pop, and hopefully plenty more after that.
by: Zoë Elaine