Amber Jay unearths the aliens in all of us on ‘Pencilled Brims’

Credit: Lee Isserow

The introduction of a new year brings the introduction of new names, and now we can add Amber Jay to the breakout list of alt-pop performers before the aliens come and call an end to our sputtering civilization. But what if the aliens are inside us all along? That’s a theme in play in the Liverpool artist’s new ’80s-themed sci-fi video for “Pencilled Brims,” a throbbing synth-pop tune that experiences sudden liftoff into a lounge on the galaxy’s outer rim.

“It all begins at a dinner table,” Jay says of the visual, shot and edited by: Lee Isserow at Liverpool’s Vessel Studios. “We see the image of a ‘nuclear’ family tucking into stacks of waffles with syrup but it is clear that something is not quite right. After stumbling across a ‘how to know if you’re an alien’ quiz in a magazine, hiding under the kitchen table at night I take the quiz searching for answers. Everything starts to make sense as matters appear to take an extraterrestrial turn.” 

A space-addled video takes the song to farther reaches of our mental orbit, adding a new layer to its source codes of intimacy and human yearning.


“’Pencilled Brims’ holds a microscope over an initial moment of intimacy and how that moment almost becomes suspended in our minds, to be witnessed and analyzed during and after the interaction has occurred,” Jay adds. “It highlights how in the action of intimacy there is a vignette-like experience around the event, allowing us to hone-in on specific details to extract their beauty. However, suddenly finding yourself tied within a person so intensely, can mean you lose sight of yourself and the perspective of the situation. The line between love and obsession becomes equally blurred and no matter how much you try and change a person ‘the nature of the beast never leaves its side.’”

Prepare blastoff.