LA-based post-rock band, French Mouth, is all about pointing their anger in the right direction and basking in self-awareness. Those energies combined are present in the four-piece’s first single, “Paper Tiger,” which also serves as the title track from their debut, forthcoming EP, due out in August 14, 2020. “Paper Tiger” is an allusion to the Chinese phrase “zhilaohu,” a term dating back to the 14th century that refers to something appearing to be more threatening then it is in actuality. This false threat is not powerful, and actually unable to defend itself against challenge.
Songwriter, guitarist and vocalist, Dee Frank explains his personal “paper tiger” and the meaning behind the lyrics, saying:
“The song is inspired by my struggle with mental health and trauma that manifests itself throughout my day-to-day. When I dig deeper, it is not an outward enemy, or a metaphorical female tiger, as described in the song; but myself and my fears I have to come to terms with and face. This song is a reminder to take care and check in on myself.”
The accompanying music video takes the lyrical theme and turns it into a visual metaphor, as band members face themselves in a game of chess in between flashes of waves crashing, glances in the mirror, and of course, cathartic moments of rocking out. Most of the video is black and white, and the use of color only builds onto the introspective symbolism.
Dee Frank sheds light on the inspiration behind the video, saying:
“The video for Paper Tiger depicts the story of self-conflict even under times of duress. Fighting against the darker side so to speak. Additionally, the video is a homage to Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, where a Knight finds himself in a chess match with ‘death’ during the end of days as he questions existence.”
The upcoming EP, Paper Tiger, was engineered and mixed by Josh Franks at JFM Studios and mastered by Nick Townsend. All songs were written by French Mouth. Stay tuned for more, and get ready for the full EP on August 14, 2020.