We last saw The Unusuals in 2002, on the back of a truck at the Birkenhead Santa parade for their “Under the Sun” video. This time they away from the fun distraction of a parade, left on their own in a plain white studio.
This is one of the problems of the video. “Long Time Dead” is a cool guitar-pop song with pleasing harmonies, but the band aren’t compelling enough on their own to be the sole focal point of the video. They look like few friends who’ve got together to play a few songs for a mates wedding, hitting the stage in their best suits with a self-conscious nervousness about their playing. It doesn’t help that the lead singer looks angry most of the time, when the lyrics call for much sweeter emotions.
The only bit of excitement happens right at the end of the video where the animated words “nah nah nah” swirl around the band. But it also has effect of making it look like they’re getting flushed down a drain. Oh dear.
Best bit: the opening shot, which features the drummer flanked by his two headless bandmates.
“Under the Sun” takes the set-up of Bjork’s “Big Time Sensuality” video (artist performing the song on the back of a truck) and gives it a totally logical context – the annual Birkenhead Santa parade.
Film in the ‘hood of director Andrew Moore, along comes the band on the back of a flatbed truck. It’s probably not what the parade crowd – largely made up of small children and their parents – were expecting. And there are indeed shots of kids holding blocking their ears, trying to make all the noise go away. But there are plenty more people who are enjoying this impressive parade float, with many shots of people waving and dancing as the truck slowly makes its way up the hill. And some of the little kids are really digging it.
It’s a rather scenic location too, with wide shots showing the distant Auckland city and Sky Tower way across the harbour. Another part of the parade route offers panoramic views of the inner Waitemata Harbour. It all fits nicely with the upbeat pop-rock song. Setting itself amid a lively community event in an ordinary Auckland neighbourhood works with the song and manages to make the Santa parade a bit more thrilling than it actually is for grown-ups.
Best bit: the old guy who is really enjoying himself.