December 2010: Devolo, Die! Die! Die!, Ekko Park, I Am Giant, Illegal Banditz, Ivy Lies, JGeek and the Geeks

In the light of the golden hour, not-quite-New Zealand, keeping it grimy, extreme sport, law-abiding bandits, a working New Zealand rock band, and higher education.

Devolo featuring Erakah & Dei Hamo “Love Lost”

While the song is credited to Devolo with guest vocals from Erekah and Dei Hamo, Erakah really feels like she owns the song. The soul singer gets the meaty chorus of the song, and when she sings, it really lifts the song, giving a cool ’80s electropop flavour. Devolo and Dei Hamo’s raps are less compelling, just serving as an intro to Erakah’s parts. Dei Hamo is also the director of the video, and he bathes Erakah in light from Auckland golden hour. The whole video has a cool city feel to it, like Auckland before the 1987 stock market crash.

Director: Dei Hamo
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Die! Die! Die! “Daze”

It’s a Die! Die! Die! video. The video creates a world of overlapping images, giving it a dreamy, otherworldly feeling. The video looks to be shot in not-New-Zealand, a big city giving the video a slightly exotic feeling while also keeping it mundane. Yeah, it’s a Die! Die! Die! video, a perfect base for a noise pop excursion. I have no idea what I’ve just written.

Director: Michael Prain
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Ekko Park “Let the Games Begin”

This is so intriguing. “Let the Games Begin” is an incredibly bright and uplifting pop song, complete with the millennial whoop. But the video has filmed the band in a grimy, grungy rock style. It’s based around a live performance, with the band shot in black and white. The camera throws in random close-ups and blurry shots, rejecting a bright pop feeling for a grimy rock vibe. It’s as if the band were cautious of fully embracing the bold pop sound of their song, and wanted to temper it to show they are still bad-ass rocker dudes. It ends up feeling like a wasted opportunity.

Director: Ed Davis
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

I Am Giant “Living the Crash”

The “Living the Crash” video uses the same technique as the band’s earlier “Neon Sunrise” – it uses pre-existing footage of extreme sport to make the band seem cool. This time it’s skateboarding, with random shots of skaters hooning around city streets, at bowls and at competitive events. I can’t help compare it with Sonic Youth’s “100%” video, where Tamra Davis and Spike Jonze shot their own original footage for the video (feat. Jason Lee) and managed a small plot, a twist and some emotional heft. “Living the Crash” is just cool dudes skating and the band rocking out in a halfpipe.

Director: Adam Jones

Illegal Banditz featuring Brooke Fowler & K.One “I Like It”

I know what you’re thinking: “Wot, as opposed to law-abiding banditz?” But it’s the Banditz from Illegal Musik, ok? The group was made up of artists signed to Illegal Musik, including members of Junipah and Ill Semantics, along with newcomer Brooke Duff who was then going by the name Brooke Fowler. “I Like It” is a big shiny slab of electropop, bang on trend for 2010. The video puts a couple of Banditz on a podium, but because they’re hiding behind sunglasses they’re not so interesting. Brooke brings some life, but things don’t get exciting until the in-the-club scenes come along. The video works best when it’s selling the excitement of the song, less so when it’s falling back into rock and hip hop cool-dude cliches.

Director: Anthony Plant

Ivy Lies “Highway”

“Highway” was the last funded video of Ivy Lies, and as far as I can tell, it was the last video the band produced. They don’t seem to have officially broken up, it’s just that their Facebook page hasn’t been updated since mid 2013. “Highway” captures Ivy Lies as a working New Zealand rock band. The band is seen playing at various gigs – by a swimming pool, in a theatre, at a rock show, as well as hanging out with fans, and showing frequent close-ups of their tour gear spraypainted with the Ivy Lies logo. It all comes down to the logo, a sense that the music video is designed as a branding exercise for the band. Which, I suppose, in a way all music videos are.

JGeeks “Icky Sticky”

There’s something terribly enjoyable about “Icky Sticky”. Set in the hallowed hall of Massey University’s Albany campus, the video puts JGeek and his Geeks in an academic setting and lets them run riot. The song never feels like it’s developed enough, all chorus and little else, but the video more than makes up for it. The video is a gleefully camp, homoerotic extravaganza, that also manages to celebrate modern Maori pop culture with hints of the traditional. And there’s dancing – really good dancing. By the end of the video, where the boys are covered in paint and oil and who knows what else, demanding “I want you to lick my face”, it’s impossible to not get caught up in their good times.

Director: Shannon Leef
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

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