It was only a year ago that Lowell synth-rock band Western Education celebrated their coming out party. With two masterful performances at the Rock And Roll Rumble in Boston, the band carried momentum into the summer, when they released debut LP Let Your Secrets Out, and album that merged ’80s new wave and new-millennial modern indie in pretty spectacular fashion. But beneath the glittery synth sheen of each track, which when pulled together gave the record a Greatest Hits feel, there were engaging lyrical stories that carried themes that ranged from love and trust to anguish and paranoia, a series of anecdotes on making sense of the current world in which we live.
In the video for latest single “I Can’t Heal,” premiering today on Vanyaland, Western Education teamed with Rob Ribera of Sleepover Shows to illustrate a visual story of a family making peace with each other during difficult times.
“As a band we thought it would be neat to create a video with outside characters rather than members of the band,” says guitarist Georgio Broufas. “We played the song to the director and videographer, Rob Ribera, with that idea in mind. What he imagined from the lyrical content of ‘I Can’t Heal’ was a story about a man who was mourning a loss. We then collaborated on the storyline. The black and white gave it a sort of silent film vibe set to music — which is unique in a way.”
The video stars Paul Lebel, formerly of Boston bands Three Hands and the Museum Direktors, as a father reaching out to his daughter after the death of her mother. “I Can’t Heal” was filmed at Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn, Massachusetts.
“When I first heard the song, I knew that I could easily come up with some sort of break up story, but I thought it would be interesting to take it in another direction,” Ribera tells Vanyaland. “The lines about keeping secrets safe, and the frustrations of the young made me think of looking back on some past mistake or regret. For some reason, the first thing that came to mind was a reunited family in front of a grave. I pitched it to the band, telling them I wanted to film in black and white, and they thought it might make for a good story. Once I found out that Paul was in a band here in Boston many years ago, it all came together.”
Ribera adds: “For me, the song was all about trying to right those wrongs and getting over that regret, so I wanted to give it a hopeful spin. Paul was totally on board, helping to find old photos and his scrapbook of memories from those days. We filmed one morning while his little boy was running around his apartment, and I think that he really brought a sense of authenticity to this character.”
Watch “I Can’t Heal” below, and catch Western Education at the Middle East in Cambridge on June 19 with Jetty, the Rare Occasions, and others.