Andrew Bird blends Greek mythology, sweeping aerial views and playful visual gags in his new “Sisyphus” video.
Instead of pushing a boulder up a mountainside, like the song’s titular doomed king, the singer-songwriter struggles to ascend the hills while wearing a massive stone head. He finds himself in several precarious spots — fumbling for grip with his feet slipping in the dirt, inching forward with his back against the rocks. Elsewhere, director Matthew Daniel Siskin follows Bird as the multi-instrumentalist rides a bicycle; later, the camera zooms out to show him vigorously pedaling in the bed of a pickup truck.
Bird detailed the video’s inspiration in a statement, noting he drew on the acclaimed 1969 film Easy Rider film for some scenes.
“We shot this video after a storm system moved through Los Angeles, and there was a strange mist wisping through the mountains,” Bird said. “I had an acute panic attack as I was standing on the edge of a thousand-foot precipice wearing this giant head mounted on a baseball helmet. The more extreme shots were handled by my stunt double, pro-climber Sterling Taylor … I wanted the whistle melody to be this glorious wind in your hair rock ‘n’ roll moment like a scene from Easy Rider thus the Dennis Hopper wig. The idea was to have a whole spin class on a flatbed truck, but I think this captures that sense of futility.”
Both “Sispyhus” and the previously issued “Bloodless” appear on Bird’s upcoming LP, My Finest Work Yet, out March 22nd. The singer will promote the album with a brief run of U.S. shows; the jaunt kicks off March 7th with the first of three dates in Los Angeles, followed by early April spots in Chicago and New York City.