The Optimist Gallery

The Optimist Gallery: The Door

The Door was released on 3 formats on 19th February 2001 as interest in the band was gathering apace. It was put out on CD, 7″ vinyl and also a 12″ vinyl which was limited to just 500, like the original EP in 1999. The track had been reworked from the original EP version. The sound is much bolder and Olly’s vocals sound much more controlled here. Gale’s guitar riffs are very prominent here. The rhythm is very clear and close to perfection. Turin Brakes were a band who knew how to make their music do the talking, particularly Gale’s guitar work during short but sweet solo. The rhythm here is just absolute perfection for this track: the pace is just right. It’s a display of how much the duo had improved since they signed with Source Recordings in 2000.

The Door narrowly missed out on a top 40 place, though, reaching number 48 in the UK charts on 25th February 2001. Critically, the single was well-received but due to a lack of radio airplay on the big stations, The Door failed to attract a big audience. The single featured the band’s first proper music video, though. After a drawn animation for Mind Over Money in 2000, this was the first music video that featured the band. It was filmed in Dungeness, on what seems a very cold day (if you see the video you can see Olly’s breath as he sits down with his tea!). The video is quite anarchistic with school children smashing up the guys instruments and chucking stones at them – not exactly the easiest audience the band have played for.

The video was inspired by the cover of The Door EP, the band’s debut in 1999. It is set on the same location as the cover artwork for The Door EP. For that cover, the band tried to locate the sound mirrors that would eventually feature on the cover of their second LP, Ether Song, but when they didn’t find them, they dressed up in animal suits for the cover photo of that EP. The video was not made then, however. The guys look much younger on the Door EP cover and Olly has moustache, which is clearly NOT there in the video. The video was not put on the cd single as extra media (it is only available on some versions of The Optimist LP).

The crowd the band fail to entertain quickly turns against the comic duo Olly and Gale, even destroying their guitars in the process! How rude! The guys are meanwhile sitting outside, having a coffee break with Olly singing the lyrics and Gale doing the harmonies – with heavy sighs in between, until the kids throw rocks at the band and push them over. Then they leave O&G to suffer in silence. The video ends with a sequence of Olly and Gale walking away and mumbling that they’ll never do this again and that they’re going to go out for a cup of tea. The video is quite timeless and is in that way unique when it comes to the videos from this era. It’s quite light-hearted in a twisted way, not too challenging but not straightforward either. And thankfully, it wasn’t a vision of things to come for the band. Their audiences have proven to be much more warm and lovely, I’d say…

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