August 2007: Salmonella Dub, Scribe, Steriogram, Streetwise Scarlet, Surf City, The Brunettes

A board game, son of Canterbury, letterboxed action, back to the ’90s, a literal road movie, and furry fun.

Salmonella Dub “Watching It Rain”

It feels like Salmonella Dub have regressed to the ’90s. This video has a strangely homemade feeling – not something that’s unavoidable on a low budget. It’s odd to say this, but the cinematography looks really naive. The Dub’s videos have always had a chilled-out feeling, but with obvious solid foundations. This one feels disappointingly basic.

Scribe “F.R.E.S.H.”

This was Scribe’s last solo single to chart (unless you count a charity single in 2011). It’s a rapidly edited showcase of Scribe’s prowess both as a rapper and as a son of Canterbury. So one moment he’s looking cool in his hip hop style, the next he’s keeping it real in front of the state house he grew up in – complete with a lyrical mention of the Housing Corporation. The lyrics also give a shout out to Chris G, aka Scribe’s long-time music video director and creative collaborator Chris Graham.

Director: Chris Graham
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Steriogram “Built on Lies (Gangster)”

The band are absent, with the video being a montage of old American films from the first half of the 20th century. It includes the 1906 San Francisco cable car film, and later public education films on newfangled driver safety. It feels a bit half-arsed, perhaps quickly constructed in the absence of a busy band on the road.

Streetwise Scarlet “Let’s Go”

I don’t know if it’s the extreme letterboxing on the YouTube upload, but this video feels strangely claustrophobic. Here’s the band playing outside, but the camera never offers a wide shot, even a one-off establishing shot. Instead there’s this narrow slit offering tight glimpses of the band, as well as other footage of scenesters waiting to get into a club. The video seems to show Streetwise Scarlett playing an outdoor concert, but it’s hard to feel included in the fun.

Director: Ivan Slavov
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Surf City “Dickshakers Union”

This video is focused on Surf City performing their song in an old shed, lit with a few lacklustre fairy lights. But in case things were getting boring in the shed, the video also throws in some action with a guy in a bear costume having fun on tennis courts and playground, also involving spurting sparkling wine. Goofy indie fun. (The video features the public tennis court in View Road, which I lived one door down from – the seventh music video that’s featured one of my old neighbourhoods.)

Director: Thom Burton

The Brunettes “B-A-B-Y”

Around the time this song came out, the Brunettes were at their peak – a critically acclaimed album, an international headline tour – but they were still struggling. In the UK, “B-A-B-Y” was used on a promo for the popular soap Hollyoaks, but their UK label had done nothing to capitalise on this, much to the annoyance of the band. The video feels a bit cheap. It’s a basic green-screen job, sometimes involving a teenage board game featuring the band. There’s a curious mix of tones – sometimes it’s cute, other times it’s more seductive. Then in the middle of it, Heather and Jonathan Brunette appear on a motorbike in front of a green screen landscape, six years before Kim and Kanye did the same in the “Bound 2” video.

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