If there is such a thing as a single true self, Lawrence Rothman has never seemed much interested in it. Since first emerging in the mid aughts as the singer of a buzzy glam rock band, they have performed pseudonymously and appeared in videos in heavy facial prosthetics or in transformative makeup or colorful wigs. Rothman's new album, The Book of Law, is a further shunning of ideas of fixed identity, exploring nine different personas over the course of its songs and visuals, each vibrant, colorful, and distinct from the last.
Each of the videos that Rothman has released in collaboration with Floria Sigismondi (who famously directed Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" clip among a whole lot of others) over the past few years has explored a different facet of those many characters—which has made for some striking imagery. In one clip, Rothman will be crooning Leonard Cohen-esque mantras about the certainty of death while dressed as a hypebeast-y type wearing a crown, in another they'll don a mullet wig and perform endearing choreography in a doorway. Today, Rothman and Sigismondi are releasing another video, this time for the swooning, new wave-y "Jordan," which casts Rothman as an astronaut amidst a surreal cast of characters.
The plot's a bit obtuse, but the video's quite tender—a collection of faraway glances and gentle caresses as the astronaut slowly finds home amidst the alienation. Rothman explained in an email that it was meant to echo their own feelings of detachment growing up in the suburbs.
"The video explores, in a metaphorical way, the idea of feeling disconnected from the world and alien because of the way I looked or acted and dressed," Rothman explains. "Being trapped in a suburban hellhole that looked down upon anyone whom wasn't the typical cookie-cutter American son or daughter. It may sound corny or whatever but this was when I was 10 or 11 years old...I used to decorate my bedroom as a as space shuttle and it was my "escape room/route" from the pressure of fitting in with the old fashioned expectations of my father. I was an astronaut existing within my own design. Outside of gender binary. In the 'Jordan' video I relived the dreams inside my head as a 10 year old."
Watch the video for the Kristin Kontrol-featuring "Jordan" above in advance of the release of The Book of Law on October 13. That album also features contributions from a wild group of collaborators, including producer Justin Raisen (who's worked on records by Sky Ferreira and Charli XCX), Pino Palladino, Stella Mozgawa from Warpaint, Guns N' Roses' Duff McKagan, How To Dress Well, and a host of others. So you won't want to miss that.