Communion‘s debut video for their latest cassette tape Anything 4 U is anything but saintly. It’s sinister and seductive. At best, the almost two minute video for the song “Head Held High” looks like a missing clip from Rob Zombie’s movie.
With legs coyly spread apart, lead singer Hilary Telford lays sprawled on a black-and-white checkered floor. The blonde bombshell channels Sherri Moon, as the camera zooms in and out of her expressionless face. The tragically beautiful Telford is trapped inside a room, and her strained howls feel like sudden bursts of relief.
“I walk with my head held high. I look everyone straight in the eye,” she sings.
Close-ups of her black rimmed eyes are complemented by flashing blank screens. Brandon Styza (guitarist), Danny White (bassist) and Matt King (drummer) cluster around Telford’s ominous voice, adding their own flair of fright and fear.
To say the least, the song is a statement and a fitting introduction to the punk quartet’s third release. “We have been working on this tape for a while now, and that song is a good announcement, like ‘HERE WE ARE!’ Telford exclaimed.
She noted despite the song’s lyrics, she does “zero walking in the video at all” and takes a lighter approach to its message: “I think it means if you fall out of bed and can’t walk, you can still scooch your way to the couch.”
That resilience, that confidence to keep and carry on comes across the 7-track tape, but getting to that point took time, Telford admitted.
The foursome met back in 2014. Telford, Styza and White worked as cheesemongers, and they used a vacant space at the cheese warehouse for their creative pursuits.
“Danny and Matt are childhood friends and were using the warehouse to practice [for] their other band, Medicine Man, and I built a darkroom in the warehouse, so I could develop pictures/sneak into their practice and sing a little bit,” Telford said.
She admitted that she “had never song in front of anyone ever,” but with White by her side, the two began to collaborate. Styza and King followed after, and Communion began to find their voice and craft their sound.
Two years and two tapes later, Telford, Styza, White and King are to release their third, which includes seven dark, gritty and grimy tracks that just aren’t afraid of telling the truth. In fact, they’re screaming it. They’re fully charged and ready for reaction.
Despite the dark, devilish sound to the tape’s single “Anything 4 U,” the song stands as “a pretty love song,” Telford said. “The lyrics are really honest, simple words describing what it’s like for me to be in a real relationship – the day-to-day struggles, as well as being in love.”
Amidst of it all, the meaning behind “Anything 4 U” showcased the foursome’s journey together.
“I think that title stood out to us because the band as a whole works really hard for one another, and we want our listeners to feel that honesty and vulnerability that comes with exposing yourself lyrically, emotionally,” Telford said.
Other songs like “Fall from Grace” and “Snakeskin” reveal another facet of their intimacy. Desire is a form of destruction, and while Telford unveils her darkest thoughts, she never completely loses her agency.
Throughout “Did It To Myself,” she unwaveringly admits her faults (I did it to myself said yes / But should have left) and takes responsibility for her own actions (They left me lying on the floor / But I got up and asked for more.” She never denies her own role, but she does come to terms with the consequences.
Styza, White and King follow Telford with a heavy, unwarranted heart, as a heavier tone of despair kicks in but later shifts into a sense of comfort.
“Lambchopper” follows the same suit. Telford encounters someone who acts as if he is “Renaissance man” and boldly asks him, “How do you decide who dies and who will survive? If it’s your right to make up rules, why can’t I?”
The question “why can’t I?” cuts through like a sharp steak knife against a raw, bloody piece of meat.
Rage, jealously, greed and narcissism are all companions of control and power, which are two of the most fatal aspects in a relationship. But Anything 4 U is built on the idea that building and maintaining relationships with others and oneself is a sacred process.
It is a work in progress, and that’s what Telford hopes their listeners can come across: “I hope our tape conveys love for the process and each other.”