Rubicon “Energy Levels”

2003-rubicon-energy-levelsOooh, Rubicon get serious. “Energy Levels” is a downbeat grungy number, with vocals by bassist Jon Corker. It’s a change from the frenetic energy of the band’s Paul Reid-fronted numbers.

“My energy levels are making me slower,” he sings. Whatever, sonny-jim. Just wait till you’re older and you start to look forward to staying in. But then he sings “My energy levels: made of clover,” which is the worst lyric ever. Unless he is like a cow who has eaten too much clover and is suffering from bloat. In that case, he should try that lady yoghurt that Lorraine Downes promotes.

The video starts by focuses on Jon’s serious rock face, but it’s not until the chorus kicks off (Pixies/Nirvana style) that he really gets to work with some quality eyeball acting. He has a good brooding style – again, a refreshing change from the usual Rubican fun ball.

The band are performing in some sort of bunker, surrounding by big concrete walls, lit by a distant strobe with a bit of smoke. It’s perfectly good standard rock video, but why?

It’s strange for Rubicon to have suddenly turned into this rather different band. “Energy Levels” was the seventh video taken from their “Primary” album and it’s hard to guess what they were trying to do with this. Was it a stab in a more mature direction? Or a hint of the eventual departure of Corker and guitarist Gene Bennet?

Best bit: the happy pop face returns at 1:25.

Director: Gareth Edwards

Next… getting up early.

Rubicon “Yeah Yeah (Rockstar)”

2002-rubicon-rockstar“Yeah yeah! Just another rock star,” sing Rubicon. Are they singing about themselves? About their place in the fickle world of popular music? Despite having 10 funded videos, it was pretty much downhill after video number three, Bruce. But our three heroes still rock on with the colourfully explosive “Rock Star” video.

It’s a very similar concept to Nurture’s “Did You Do It All For Love” video – the band, dressed in white, perform in front of a white background where they become covered with paint. But while Nurture were the victims of the sadistic music video character, Rubicon are masters of their own splattering.

The video starts with a young woman giving the pristine white set a final check before giving the camera a pout of approval. Then the band turn up and start playing in what looks like a living room where everything – including their musical instruments – is white.

But all is not what it seems. The bass player takes a white pear out of the fridge but he doesn’t like it (probably because it’s been stored in the fridge and couldn’t ripen) so he hurls it at a wall where – whoa! – it explodes in a burst of blue paint.

Ah, so it seems everything in this white world is secretly full of red, blue or yellow paint (the band’s album was called Primary). The lads engage in stereotypical rock star behaviour, which involves throwing things around because, raaaargh, that’s what rock starz do.

While things get pretty messy by the end of the video, there is a lot of restraint so for most of the video there’s more white than colour, with large splats of paint, rather than lots of messy dribbles. I really appreciate that a lot of thought has gone into the execution of the paintstravaganza. It’s not just a random freak-out and the video looks good for that.

Best bit: the appearance of green after some extreme blue-and-yellowing.

Director: Gareth Edwards
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… lessons in slack.