Wikipedia lists 20 artists who’ve covered “Under the Milky Way”. But you know who got their first? Strawpeople, that’s who. Go, New Zealand!
Their version take away the ’80s post-punk sound of the original and gives it some smooth ’90s dance sounds. The video sticks with this vibe, making a sophisticated experience.
Stephanie Tauevihi is the star of the video, in an elegant black suit, big hair and bold make-up. When we see the other Strawpeople – Mark Tierney and Paul Casserly – they’re both playing guitars. This doesn’t normally happen in Strawpeople vids – they tend to lurk in the background, looking all mysterious. Here it’s like, oh, they’re just musicians. How disappointing.
But there’s plenty of oddness to make up for it. We see scenes of a nerdy woman hunched over a typewriter (like what I am doing *right now*, only with a laptop), a reprise of those fabulous Ioasa cheekbones, and a small boy with a globe of the world.
A lot of the footage is out of focus, as if we’re not quite allowed to see everything that’s going on. The rapidly panning camera isn’t going to show us everything. It feels like being a casual observer, with only a connection to Stephanie. Everything else that’s happening doesn’t quite concern us.
Strawpeople videos intrigue me. They simultaneously manage to seem very superficial and shallow, and yet also genuinely deep and meaningful. And I reckon that’s a perfect match for their music.
Best bit: the astronaut hugs nerd girl. Baby, he’ll take u 2 the milky way.
Directors: Mark Tierney and Paul Casserly
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… the finest lady.