July 11, 2017 American Valhalla (Movie Review)
Formulas, methods, bravery, and even maddening cerebral encounters can aid in unleashing of creativity on a special collaborative album. Ultimately, sometimes the story of it all presents itself in a film that also borderlines in documentary style. That said, coming to select theaters across the USA via More2Screen and Eagle Rock Films on Tuesday, July 11, 2017 is recently completed film American Valhalla.
The story features the making of Iggy Pop’s eighteenth studio album, Post Pop Depression, released back on January 22nd in 2016. An album which was a collaboration with Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age on backing vocals, guitar, bass, piano, synthesizers, mellotron, and percussion, Dean Fertita on guitar, piano, synthesizers, and bass guitar and the drummer best known for his work in the Arctic Monkeys, Matt Helders. Produced and in part directed by Josh Homme himself along with Andreas Neumann, American Valhalla phases in and out of a stylistic Rock Documentary format to more of a poetic happenstance. That said, while the class behind the sass seems to be the driving force in play, some of the close ups on Iggy Pop in various vulnerable states play as the spike to the punch.
For those who do not know, American Valhalla is a title taken from a very catchy song off the album Post Pop Depression. It came about from a conversation between Iggy Pop and Josh Homme about the Norse heavens being best, which then channeled into the question of an American Valhalla. This in mind, the highlights of the film are in the coming together of two very different artists in such a way that there is pure melding of souls and no rising conflict. The lyrical styles alone of both artists are different enough as is, and this alone is fascinating to witness Iggy Pop take over before a final Josh Homme edit.
On the other more Rock Documentary side of the film, viewers travel with the band through snippets from their all too short album support tour. Iggy Pop will always be Iggy Pop, but in 2017 he is once again ahead of his time on this dynamic duo collaborative effort where they dress in snazzy suits and play venues on the larger, fancier side in which Iggy Pop removes his jacket after 30 seconds, swears at the audience for a good minute, and then busts out with the most Sinatra-esque Rock-n-Roll voice punked out in all its realist antics.
Holding a special press screening on Sunday, July 9th, out in Los Angeles, CA, there was a special Q&A with Josh Homme, and Andreas Neumann along with Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones acting as the host. During this portion of the screening, the first question after a long intro from Homme and a comic interlude from Jones was about who decided on the suits for their on stage attire. That definitely raises an interesting question, answered of course by the source, Homme, because only someone in the band can really choose the attire that expresses the album the way they want it to. They can hire a designer to help execute the vision, but writing style of the album goes hand in hand with stage attire style appropriate to visualize the tunes in all of its subtle or not so subtle ways.
Next up was the discussion of how to get over the fear of putting oneself out into the public in all honesty and vulnerability. Basically, Homme says that it does not matter if perfection happens as long as it is an honest process the committed soul can survive and thrive. This in mind, Post Pop Depression itself was well-received and Iggy Pop brought into his bold and sinister, humble yet confident persona that exudes excitement and a no-fucks-given attitude out to the audience.
Overall, American Valhalla is all that and more bags of chips for the masses to enjoy for years to come. Iggy Pop and his music are alive and well, so take the Post Pop Depression with the American Valhalla as a new sign of the times to avoid that creeping depression, because all good things must come to an end. A unique viewing experience, CrypticRock gives American Valhalla 4.5 out of 5 stars.