We last saw Stoods in an art gallery, being tortured by the process of creating art. Their second and final NZOA-funded video puts the band in a car, but things are even more complicate than the world of art.
We meet Phil in the back of a car, with what looks to be a professional driver in the front. Sometimes Phil is sitting on the left, sometimes he’s on the right. That’s cool. But then sometimes we see his driver behind the wheel on the right-hand side, but other times she’s on the left. Are they hedging their bets so they don’t alienate fans from the 65% of the world who drive on the right?
Suddenly Phil leaps out of the right/left side of the car, runs off and jumps in the back of a vintage American car that just happens to be driven by the Stoods drummer. This car also changes from left to right. They pick up the Stoods bass player and the trio drive to a bricky alcove (possibly at the Wintergarden) and rock out.
It’s a stylish video, attractively shot in black and white. But “It’s too confusing,” goes the song’s chorus. Yeah, the video is a bit like that too.
Stoods were, as their Amplifier bio proudly notes, the “2001 New Zealand National Battle of the bands winners”. They have a good commercial rock sound and there’s Phil Stoodley’s songwriting does interesting things.
“Portrait” is about a guy who has a one-night stand with an attractive woman, but when he goes to paint a portrait of her pretty face, he can’t actually remember what she look looks like, which is a disgrace. (Maybe he should start with the boobs. I’m sure it’ll all come back to him.)
The video sees a young artist trying to paint this portrait, but it’s an exercise in great frustration for him. He pouts, paces, stamps and is very annoyed with himself for not being able to remember that chick he rooted that one time. This was a harsh reality of the time before Facebook.
This is cut with scenes of an art gallery filled with attractive women. They alternative between stylishly staring at the paintings and elegantly gliding around the gallery. COuld one of them be his one-time shag?
We also see the band playing wandering around this gallery, but mainly they’re playing the song in a dark space. The band shots are the least interesting part of the video, a group of three ordinary looking guys who seem determined to distance themselves from the gallery madness.
Back in the gallery, the young artist finally sees his mystery bonk. At last – he can paint her. But as she walks towards him, she keeps on walking, straight through him. She’s a ghost. Or he’s a ghost. Or maybe he caught syphilis and this is all an elaborate hallucination.
Best bit: the extreme acting when the artist doubles over as the lady walks through him.
“Happy Song” was the fourth of the eight funded videos from Rubicon’s debut album “Primary Colours. The album had 14 tracks, so more than half of them had music videos made. That beats both Fiona McDonald and Tadpole’s previous total of seven videos from one album.
This video sees Rubicon in spaaaace, with a parody of both Star Wars and Star Trek. Actually, I don’t think you’re allowed to do that. I think mashing up those two strongholds of popular science-fiction culture makes people really upset. And for a song that’s about happiness, that’s a bad thing to do.
The Rubicon trio are on the bridge of a spaceship, each wearing skivvies in primary colours with the group logo, which oddly enough is more reminiscent of the Wiggles costumes than the Star Trek uniforms.
It’s a lighthearted video, with plenty of “we’re under attack!” acting, which involves hurtling oneself across the screen. After fighting off attacking ships, the lads soon discover the alien enemy is on board the ship, requiring doofy laser guns to be deployed.
The song sneaks in a drum solo (Paul Reid is does a Karen Carpenter and sings from his drumkit), and while the band rock out in their civilian world, back on the ship the trio are fighting off a bad guy (who looks like an extra from Hercules) with budget-as lightsabers. The enemy defeated, the group go in for hugs. And so their happy broventures in space continue.
It’s a Rubicon video. They were, for a couple of years, really popular and made fun videos that their young fans enjoyed. And hey, if James Bond can go into space, so can Rubicon.
Best bit: the not-quite-solid lightsaber animations.