Mink “Ride”

1997-mink-rideI was going to describe this video as looking a bit studenty, but it seems that Mink emerged out of Otago University so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t look studenty. In fact, the “Ride” video reminds me of the sort of studenty work you’d see in the 48HOURS film competition, genre – road trip.

The video starts with a key in the ignition and a big red classic car starts its journey. The car is driven by a glamorous woman wearing a black feather boa. Feather boa are low-budget video shorthand for ‘glamorous lady’. The car soon fills up with a random assortment of hitch-hikers, with vocalist Dermania Lloyd in the passenger seat. There’s something going on with her and the driver.

The car full of freaky friends isn’t quite played for laughs, but there is a knowing absurdity to the situation. The glamorous driver looks deeply annoying at her crazy passengers (but really, what was she expecting when she picked them up?)

Suddenly it’s night and the disembodied head of Dermania floats in front of the car, reminiscent of Marion Crane’s guilt-laden road trip in “Psycho”.

The day comes and the car reaches it’s destination: a car wash. We then catch a glimpse of a book which shows moving images of a studenty party, complete with people wearing feather boas. (Actually, never do this in real life – those $2 shop feather boas will shed all over the place and a month later you’ll still find pink feathers in your cornflakes.)

“Ride” is a sweet electronica song. Part of me wants the video to be better, but for a low-budget studenty video, it’s not bad.

Best bit: the purposeful dashboard button pushing.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… how to make an entrance.

Maree Sheehan “Strength To Love”

1997-maree-sheehan-strength-to-love“Too many people come and they go”, sings Maree, and the video sets about showing this exact situation. “Strength To Love” is set in a motel, where we meet an variety of diverse guests.

In fact, the motel is doing pretty well, with 16 guests. There’s an attractive but very timid young couple, a very still Asian couple, loved-up newlyweds, a older married couple, a miserable tennis player, a crossdressing codger, a party girl and her friends, a aloha shirt wearing man and his glamorous ladyfriend, a businessman, a naked lady, a bad girl, a shaved/dreadlocked woman with a dog, a trio of leather-clad lesbians, three children, an elegant old lady, a revved-up gay couple, and three cleaning ladies. That’s 4.8 litres of milk – trim or regular.

But despite staying at this bustling motel, no one seems particularly happy. It doesn’t look like a particularly nice motel. It’s just a bit run down and under decorated. And who would spend their honeymoon at such a place? (Answer: a couple who is too busy rooting to notice the decor.)

The Strawpeople’s “Taller Than God” video used a similar concept, but it worked better. I’m guessing the Strawpeople had a bigger budget, and that video had some context for the motel and kept the number of guests much smaller. There was a sense that all the characters had a story.

Whereas with the Strength To Love Motor Inn, it’s just a big collection of people who seem to be deeply troubled by relationship problems. As a result it doesn’t serve the song well, overpowering Maree’s subdued vocals but never quite being interesting enough to work on its own. I’m guessing there’s a low budget here

Best bit: the brisk effeciency of the cleaners.

Director: Peter Bannan
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… going for a drive.

D-Faction “Redemption Song”

1997-d-faction-redemption-songD-Faction have covered a lot of songs so being a New Zealand group it was only a matter of time before they did some Bob Marley. The Wailers’ jaunty reggae beats are gone and in their place are some housey beats, along with some Pacific drumming. Yes, it’s a song that will move you and inspire you and you can dance to it.

Lead vocals are provided by Dave Talea, but he seems very reluctant to be in the video. His lipsyncing is restrained, as if he’s acutely embarassed to be standing on a walkway in front of some shipping containers, singing a Bob Marley song. He looks like he’s mumbling rather than singing the song.

Emancipating himself from music video slavery, he pays a visit to the Otara Markets (I think – or a similar Auckland food market), a nice reference to D-Faction’s “Babe I’m Not Original” from five years earlier.

There are scenes from the bustling streets, colourful locals, cute kids, a bit of spontaneous dancing, and some fresh corn on the cob. Sounds like a good day to me.

Finally Dave joins the rest of D-Faction, who are relaxing in a suburban lounge. It’s like they’d enjoyed a lie-in and sent him off to the markets to make the music video.

Best bit: the spontaneous street dancing.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… you can check out any time you like.

Bailter Space “Velo”

1997-bailter-space-veloHaving produced a string of really good looking, really well made videos from Bailter Space, it’s surprising to come across this rather low budget effort. It looks like it’s been shot on a home video camera, and includes lots of amateur footage of Manthattan and rural America. When we see the band, they’re huddled around the camera, looking not unlike some dudes making a YouTube video in their bedroom.

While this might have come across as embarassingly low budget back when it was released, time is kind to videos like this. The grainy home video now takes on a cool aesthetic. Wobbly handheld camera, pixelly video and inadequate lighting are now all part of the charm. It helps that “Velo” is a really good song, with good searing guitar and chanted lyrics that bounce along.

Bailter Space always seemed like a very mysterious sort of band and were never the focus of their music videos. But here we see them, squished together in a clear shot, looking like three guys in a band making their own music video.

Best bit: the brief shot of the “Gordon Insurance Agency” sign. I see what they did there.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a return to the markets.