I have a bit of a confession to make: Since my inaugural listen to ARMS, I've often imagined what a music video for their songs would look like. They're songs are so narrative-driven and yet so notably cinematic that you're sort of led to imagine their scenarios anyway. I had dreams taking place in the Summer Skills universe even. The song were that evocative. So when ARMS announce the filming of their first ever music video, I considered it to be my own dreams coming true. The fact that the director was Andrew Droz Palermo, who did that amazing yet odd White Rabbits video for "Heavy Metal" (among others) made me sure the project would be in good hands.
"Heat & Hot Water" is without question one of my favorite ARMS songs and probably one of the hardest to put to film if we're being totally honest. Unlike "Emily Sue, Cont'd" which would probably have been the easiest, the video ignores the obvious settings that Todd Goldstein's narrative suggests. The tracks itself about the ruin of a couple after a series of supernatural-tinged misadventures, there's heavy referencing to a beast that the couple uses against each other. How would ARMS and Palermo put that to tape? The answer is to not.
Instead of "Heat & Hot Water", the video focuses on a couple that switches from romantic contentment to boredom pretty much at the drop of the hat. When they're together they smile, they have fun, they laugh and then there's sudden a look. An unquestionable gaze appears on the face of the female lead (played by Brooke Underwood) that suggests they're on the outs. She will be left alone and sudden her smile will disappear and her whole mood changes. Then there's the pesky specter of a man played by Todd Goldstein himself that keeps appearing to her. Goldstein has alluded to possible characterization as the Devil but I saw it more as a lingering sense of doubt. Appearing only to the female usually when she is alone to think and right before the video ends when the couple starts to have a serious talk.
The video is subtler than I would've expected, relying more on the talent of the actors (most notably the aforementioned Underwood) to drive the music video's plot than anything else. And it's a gamble that works pretty well. Hopefully the first of a series of Summer Skills related stories, this first video does a remarkably good job of establishing the characters and conflict in a stunningly minimalistic way. Who says you have to spend thousands of dollars to make a good music video? Not. ARMS. Not Andrew Droz Palermo.
Watch ARMS debut music video for "Heat & Hot Water":