“Enjoy it while it lasts, because soon it will be different,” sings Damon Albarn in a new video for “The Truce of Twilight,” from last year’s Merrie Land by his group The Good, The Bad, and the Queen. Actually, it’s the second clip for the song. The first, released last year, featured Albarn in facial prosthetics, a puppet manipulating puppets. Given the lyrics, one might interpret that concept as a comment on politicians — puppets of larger powers who stand to gain from a divided E.U. — manipulating their bases to support dubious moves like Brexit.
Just hours before the British parliament again rejected the deal, the group yesterday released the new clip, directed by bassist Paul Simonon and shot with iPhones in black-and-white. The make-up, prosthetics and puppets are gone; in their place are four musicians of mixed race and heritage playing their instruments, conjuring visions of homeless sleeping in the streets while paranoid citizens lay in bullets and machine guns, preparing for a new war against some unnamed enemy. “Look what we have done/ The feckless and the lazy/ Look what we’ve become,” Albarn sings, a scruffy, aging English everyman in a black watchcap making music in what might be a pub backroom. The groove is driven by Simonon’s dub-reggae bassline, in shades of The Clash, delivered between drags on a cigarette, which he grinds out on the floor beneath his Doc Martens 1461 to end the clip. Not an optimistic finale. But it’s not an optimistic song, or situation.