Portishead Release Video of Their ‘S.O.S.’ Cover Honoring Murdered MP Jo Cox on Her Birthday, in Advance of the Brexit Vote


If you’ve been chasing that Portishead cover of Abba’s “S.O.S.” from Ben Wheatley’s High Rise ever since it went up on YouTube — and then un-went-up on YouTube — a while back, it’s finally been released, officially. But now, it bears different connotations than, merely, “bleakest band ever covers most daffily jolly band’s jolly attempt at bleakness.” The band released a video for the song today; it ends with the quoted text, “We have far more in common than which divides us,” which happens to be from British MP Jo Cox, who was shot and killed last week, apparently for her stance against the UK’s possible exit from the European Union.

The video itself is a 3.5 minute, zooming, B & W shot of Portishead singer Beth Gibbons in soft focus, until right at the end, she outstretches her arm to the viewer/camera/divided nation, and the video cuts to the quote. If you’re particularly looking for vivid visual accompaniment, this is more like a moving album cover with a political message; its release comes a day in advance of the vote on the Brexit. Today also would have been Jo Cox’s 42nd birthday.

Jo Cox was killed on June 16, by a man who shot and stabbed her, allegedly yelling “Britain first” while carrying out the attack. The man who’s been charged with murder, Thomas Mair, seems to have been a far-Right extremist, and seems to have had ties to an American Neo-Nazi group.

As Pitchfork notes, many other British artists have voiced their support for staying in the EU (and their concerns about the repercussions of leaving) today.

Watch the Portishead video: