From the very first shot of a red-and-white take-out box of multi-colored Chinese prawn crackers backed by a July Fourth sparkler, the Papas Fritas video "Afterall" is a total charmer, all whimsy and pop-guitar crunch. "Here's the party, where's my friends?" sings Tony Goddess, a Replacements-like melody line that takes off into another realm when bandmate Keith Gendel and Shivika Asthana join on the la-la-la harmonies. Ross Shain (who put the video together with his partners at the local Bugshop Productions, Dirk DeJong and Paul Sanni) says, "We were trying to re-create the early '80s MTV look. We're also influenced by Japanese commercials, in the quickness and silliness, the pop-art style, the colors." Bugshop and the band also liked playing with the other food imagery (a birthday cake that says "Pop Has Freed Us," among other tasties). "Is it a commercial for food, a commercial for the band?" asks Shain rhetorically. It's that classic pop art ambiguity that the video manipulates. But viewers will probably remember it most for the music, the candy-colored hijinks, and disarming naturalness of Asthana's screen presence. The "Afterall" single is on the band's Minty Fresh debut, Papas Fritas.
-- Jon Garelick