First Watch: Vandaveer, 'A Little Time Off Ahead' Vandaveer's heartwarming — and impressive — new video for "A Little Time Off Ahead" reflects on life and the need to appreciate the ones we love.
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Vandaveer, 'A Little Time Off Ahead'

The songs of D.C. alternative folk group Vandaveer, led by Mark Charles Heidinger, conjure colorful, familiar worlds that hit right at the heart. In a stunning new animation, "A Little Time Off Ahead," a song from the band's upcoming album, comes to tangible life. Animated by Michael Lloyd in a simple, bold style, the video tells the story of an imprisoned man who longs to break free and reunite with his family. Through forests and fields, spaceships and trains, the prisoner journeys far and wide before realizing his freedom means nothing without his family.

"My goal for the video was to evoke the feeling of a children's book," Lloyd tells NPR Music in an email. "Weaving elements of the real world with fantastical adventures, I hoped to convey a world and story that feel both timeless and contemporary, touching on the universal sentiment of longing for the ones we love."

The video begins with the same joyful sense of freedom and adventure that characterize so many childhood stories and memories, but also touches on the more serious, self-reflection intended by songwriter Heidinger. "The narrative isn't a strict retelling of the tune," Heidinger says. "But the stories complement each other well, and they ultimately arrive at the same place — a moment of serious self-reflection. Someone recently told me the video is too sad. To which I replied, 'Sure, of course it is. But it's also fun and a little triumphant.' Just like life — sad, fun, and if you're lucky, even a little triumphant, too."

"A Little Time Off Ahead" comes from Vandaveer's upcoming album The Wild Mercury, due out Feb. 19.

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