Eight “Fall Apart”

2004-eight-fall-apart“Fall Apart” is a one-take video, filmed a block back from Karangahape Road, on Poynton Terrace. It’s a bit more ambitious than your typical one-take video, on account of it being shot using a crane, with the camera doing an impressive amount of moving.

The action starts on the back of St Kevin’s Arcade (including the back steps where we previously saw Jan Hellriegel in “Geraldine”), before crossing the road to visit the Espano Flats.

And that’s where the rest of the video is centred, the 1926 building being put to good use, with both the exterior and interiors seen. The camera flies over a courtyard then swoops up the side of the building, showing the occupants engaged in all sorts of everyday activities. I actually wish there was a bit more going on – the sight of two people carrying a mattress along a hallway is pretty dull. Can’t they put it down and jump on it?

As a love letter to inner city Auckland architecture of the 1920s, the video is a pleasure to watch. But as a music video, it’s rather boring. It doesn’t help that it’s all shot in slow-motion, meaning that when we finally see the band playing the song in a street-front room, it comes as an anticlimax. Eight, you’re not as interesting as an old building.

Best bit: the neat garden out the front of the Espano, a change from the weedy tangle on Google Street View.

Director: Adam Jones
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… revenge of a nerd.

Eight “Centre of Me”

2004-eight-centre-of-meThere’s never been a consistant look and feel to Eight’s previous videos. “Whale” was like a short film, “Moments Gone” was goofy, “No Way to Decide” was serious, and now “Centre of Me” goes in an arty video direction.

The video begins with a pair of red theatre curtains hanging in the woods (filmed in Christchurch), very Twin Peaks. The curtains part to reveal lead singer Bruce performing in a dark room with some of that music video wallpaper. Then that wall behind him parts and there are the rest of the band. Super indoor-outdoor flow.

Then it’s back out to the woods where the band are lined up along a path, then the band also have a posing session on a big gold-coloured couch. By now it’s starting to seem like a roll call of music video tropes.

The video ends with the band in another room and they’re going all out to rock out for the video. No one just plays their instrument. Everyone is getting in there and putting a ton of energy into their performance. But it still feels like another music video trope.

The band’s music sounds like very mature, serious rock (helped by Bruce’s deep voice), and yet it’s obvious that band are relatively young. Eight’s videos seem torn between presenting their serious maturity that comes across in their music and the more youthful vigour of the band themselves.

Best bit: the cut between the woods and the couch, where a close-up of the drummer conceals the edit.

Director: Richard Bell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a strange Masonic ritual.

Eight “No Way to Decide”

2003-eight-no-way-to-decideThe “No Way to Decide” video seems like the path of least resistance. It’s black and white, very serious and goes nicely with the band’s earnest grunty rock sound. Their previous video “Moments Gone” had a goofy plot that was at odds with the song’s feel, but it’s a good match here.

We see the band performing in a black space, with shadowy light making them look all fierce and rock. This is the first time the band has appeared in a music video in a classic band performance pose. (The closest previously was performing on a roundabout in the non-NZOA-funded “Shift”.)

But the main part of the video involves a man with a blindfold. “All this time I’m running”, shouts the chorus. But the video’s hero isn’t running, he’s walking blindfolded. And he’s walking in very straight lines.

Now, I’ve seen the episode of Mythbusters where Adam and Jamie tested whether it were possible to walk straight while blindfolded. They concluded it’s impossible, and indeed YouTube is full of DIY experiments of people staggering all over football fields. So while this guy in the Eight video is cautiously but confidently walking straight along the middle of the road, this is not what an actual blindfolded person would experience.

Our hero crosses a busy road, runs through a forest (which seems an odd choice, given that he keeps crashing into trees), along city streets, stumbles over craggy rocks and finally finds himself standing at a cliff edge. So, is this the end of his journey, or will he take another step forward and plunge off the cliff? Well, if the Mythbusters’ experiment was anything to go by, he’ll just end up walking around in circles.

Best bit: the Frogger-style road crossing.

Next… a warm summer day indoors.

Eight “Moments Gone”

2002-eight-moments-goneAfter the very serious video for previous single “Whale” (starring the lone traveller and his crossroads conflict), Eight return with a much more lighthearted video for “Moments Gone” – but a song with the same epic rock scope as “Whale”.

This time the action centres around the unusual goings-on in the lobby of a building. Away in a dark room, a man with a neckbrace and a stern bespectacled woman review a security tape, trying to get to the bottom of the incident that saw him end up with a neck injury.

On the tape we discover an assortment of wacky zany madcap characters causing chaos in the lobby. There’s a cleaner who seems more interested in using his mop like a mike stand, a naked guy, shifty fellows in trenchcoats and fedoras, aloha party office workers, a girl on rollerskates, a flasher and, in a special cameo, the traveller from “Whale”.

The tape also shows the source of the man’s injury – he slipped on a banana peel. But how did the banana get there? Why, it was dropped by a giant gorilla. The woman quickly works up a sketch of the culprit. But is this fair? Surely the cleaner should have noticed the banana peel and picked it up. But no – he was too busy pretending to be a rock star to do his job properly.

Here’s my dilemma. It’s a fun video, but it seems completely at odds with the tone of the song. It’s more like the sort of goofy adventures drummer Paul Russell’s old band Supergroove would have had in their early videos. These guys have a mature rock sound. Their video should be more advanced than a high-school-quality romp.

Best bit: the sketch artist’s detailed likeness of the gorilla.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… written in the stars.

Eight “Whale”

2001-eight-whaleEight were a five-piece band that had a big rocky sound, with rather emo-style lyrics. Their first video “Whale” intrigues me.

On a remote rural road, a young man walks up to an intersection. YouTube uploader NZboi says it was filmed on location at Waitakaruru/Pipiroa – the flat, swampy farmland by the Firth of Thames.

The guy looks like a traveller, someone who’s out to walk the earth and find himself. But the intersection might as well be a roadblock as he seems completely unable to decide whether to turn left or right. Kids, this is what life was like before Google Maps.

A tractor passes from the left; a car containing the rock band Eight passes from the right. But that doesn’t simplify the choice to merely agriculture vs rock. The traveller seems even more confused. OMG, he could turn left OR he could turn right. This is worse than an old lady in Starbucks who just wants “a coffee”.

Finally the dithering backpacker pulls out a coin – one of the giant old 50c pieces – and flips it. After a dramatic slowmo spin, the coin ends up wedged on its side in the tarseal, neither left nor right.

Still unable to choose a side, the dude follows the direction the coin is pointing in. He sprints forward and dives in a muddy ditch across the road. Up to this point, I was getting pretty fed up with the indecisiveness, seeing the traveller suddenly sprint off into the dirty water was a brilliant twist and I was cheering him on. But what happens when he clambers out of the water?

Best bit: the guy’s t-shirt, advertising “Peter and Vicki Plummer’s Union Hotel, Barcaldine, Queensland”

Next… a nice afternoon at the country club.