Don’t be deceived by the infectiously off-kilter pop melodies and bizarro-world Hall and Oates falsettos; there’s a lot more going on with NewVillager than meets the ear. The Brooklyn-based duo of Ross Simonini and Ben Bromley (along with newly added third member, Collin Palmer) expand beyond the boundaries of their self-titled art-synthpop debut to encompass art installations (recently curating the show “Temporary Culture” at L.A.’s Human Resources Gallery) and visually sumptuous videos.
If that’s not complicated enough, all of this work is tied together by the band’s self-created mythology, an ever-evolving grand idea that draws from influences as diverse as Joseph Campbell and Michael Jackson.
“In the same way that music has sonata form and painting has a landscape form, there’s a recurring mythology form that everything from ancient Hindu mythology to ‘The Princess Bride’ follows,” according to Simonini. “We eventually came to our own manifestation of the form that can connect everything that we do, even if it’s very different on the surface.”
These sorts of big ideas more frequently turn up in experimental art circles, but Simonini and Bromley knew from the moment they began working together in 2006 that they wanted to express themselves through pop music.
“People like David Bowie have connected these avant-garde ideas to pop music before,” Simonini says, “but not many artists are working on this level. It was interesting to approach some of these ideas and connect them with music that is immediately, palpably satisfying.”