August 2007: 48 May, 5star Fallout, Anika Moa, Audio Empire, Brooke Fraser, Brotha D

Harry Houdini’s greatest hits, Anika and the lightbulbs, gentle life on the road, cardboard pop-punk, farewell to Murph, and representing the south side.

48May “Car Crash Weather”

This was 48May’s final funded video and they’re not really in it. The band are presented via cardboard cutouts in the stop-motion world of director Sally Tran, but the energetic punk-pop band of 2003 seems to have run out of steam. The video is largely shot in black and white, using paper and cardboard to create different cityscapes on which cutouts of the band perform the song. The black and white palette gives it a curiously dark feeling, exposing the sadness of the song.

Director: Sally Tran
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

5star Fallout “The Art of Being Alone”

This is a surprisingly good song that does pleasingly unexpected things with the melody. The video is less impressive. It’s just the band in a dark studio, cut with what looks like stock video footage of children and an old lady looking dramatic. This was the final funded video from 5star Fallout and the band broke up shortly after. Lead singer Michael Murphy still has a career as a professional singer, working corporate gigs,¬†performing in musicals and working on production music. That might not be the glamorous life of a rock star, but being able to make a living from the music biz in New Zealand is a decent achievement.

Director: Ivan Slavov

Anika Moa “Dreams in my Head”

“Dreams in my Head” is a super girly song of unrequited love. The video puts Anika in a room decorated with dozens of bare lightbulbs, which I actually think predates the trend for bare lightbulbs that emerged in the early 2000s. Anika slightly hams up her performance, but she gets away with it because it’s a strong song and, hey, she’s Anika. The song reached No.16 on the singles chart.

Director: Luke Sharpe
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Audio Empire “Great Escape”

Two things I learned from searching for Audio Empire’s Facebook page. 1) There are quite a few bands called Audio Empire. 2) The New Zealand one hasn’t updated their page since December 2008. The “Great Escape” video is based around old newsreel footage of Harry Houdini performing his escape act, cut with footage of the band performing. It comes across more as Harry Houdini’s greatest hits mixed with a ’90s-style rock band.

Director: Ivan Slavov

Brooke Fraser “C.S. Lewis Song”

It’s no secret that Brooke Fraser is Christian, though she’s never written overtly Christian songs. “C.S. Lewis Song” takes its lyrics from Lewis’ book Mere Christianity. The video is a basic “life on the road” style, shot during Brooke’s Albertine tour in late 2007, but yet it reflects the spiritual qualities of the song. This is no wild rock ‘n’ roll life, but the experience of travel, seeing the country and performing to appreciative audiences.

Director: Dan Monaghan

Brotha D featuring Sweet & Irie “Take It Out South”

There are two kinds of songs about South Auckland – either “It’s real tough here” or “It’s not as bad as people say it is”. This is the latter. Brotha D (previously seen on K’Lee’s “Can You Feel Me”) teams up with Sweet & Irie for their ode to the south, including the amazing angry-dad line¬†“These kids nowadays don’t know how to behave.” The video creates fantasy landscapes, showing South Auckland as both a bustling metropolis (what suburban sprawl?) and an uninhabited tropical island. Both are completely accurate. At one point the song name-checks successful sports players and musicians from South Auckland, but doesn’t manage to find any women to list amongst David Tua, Jonah Lomu and OMC.

Director: James Barr

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