June 2011: The Adults, The Jury & The Saints, The Naked and Famous, The Thomas Oliver Band, Tiki Taane, Zowie

Moving parts, alien adventures, falling to pieces, toys and boys, biking to the beach, and a smash hit.

The Adults “Part of Me”

“A Part of Me” is kind of a one-take video, with just a few hidden cuts. It involves Jon Toogood and a dancer walking around inside an old warehouse, while they leave behind or catch up to parts of their bodies. It’s not gross and it’s quite cleverly done — One Direction even used a similar technique in their “You & I” video. It’s a good use of fancy digital video effects, not just for the sake of it.

Director: Tim Van Dammen
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

The Jury & The Saints “Day Dreams” – missing

It’s 2011 and no one is immune from EDM, not even a punk band. “Day Dreams” is an infusion of The Jury & the Saints’ rock sound with some electronica. The video gets a bit technological with its story of some teens in search of aliens. It feels like the video should have a little more jeopardy, otherwise it ends up just being about teens googling aliens and wandering around a dairy farm.

Note: The video itself has been removed from YouTube, but there is a trailer which gives a general idea.

Director: Ivan Slavov

The Naked and Famous “No Way”

When so many other bands are mired in the musical trends of the early 2000s, it’s just nice when The Naked and Famous come along and do their own thing. “No Way” is a guitar-based track, and moves from a gentle acoustic sound to a fuller, crunchier electric style. The video is all about things breaking and smashing. A bride and a warrior each have their moments with things breaking and flying around them in slow motion. As always, it’s another collaboration with Special Problems, with the result being a video that complements and adds to the song.

Director: Special Problems

The Thomas Oliver Band “Bad Talkin’ Man”

The “Bad Talkin’ Man” is all about flirtation filmed in close-up. It’s between Thomas Oliver and a woman with long hair. They spend much of the video eyeing each other up. He plays his slide guitar, she plays with wind-up tin toys and smashes up his house. All the drama and action is cut to the rhythm of the song, and it ends with her walking away, not bothered about the muso, and he not bothered that this person has just smashed up his house.

Director: Hayley Gray

Tiki Taane & Sambora “Come Fly With Me”

This video is such a New Zealand fairytale. A young woman wakes up in her stark city apartment and discovers little plants sprouting from things, as well as a butterfly. Instead of being worried that she was living in a leaky home, she gets on her pushbike and cycles out into the countryside, then off to the beach. That’s what being a New Zealander in a music video is all about — having spiritual awakenings at the beach.

The video doesn’t work the few times the woman breaks the fourth wall and smiles at the camera. That immediately makes the camera operator a character in the video, and raises the question who this person is and why have they been following her to the beach?

Director: Alan Morrison

Zowie “Smash It”

So here’s the last one. It’s very satisfying that the $5000 funding started in 1991 with “A E I O U” and is concluding 20 years later with a track from Zowie. A to Z, y’all. And this is a good clip to end with. It’s on trend for 2011 and the video is doing what so many New Zealand music videos try to do — look like a big fancy pop video on a little New Zealand budget.

“Smash It” taps into the Ke$ha and Lady Gaga type of electro pop. It’s ok, but the song itself feels more like a demo in need of some work. It just ends up feeling quite repetitive and not enough happens.

The video similarly is kind of there but not totally. It’s an ongoing problem with electropop. While a grungy rock song can get away with a cheap-looking low-budget video (and might even be enhanced by it), electropop needs things to be slicker.

As a result, the “Smash It” video looks a bit cheaper than it actually is. Sometimes it just looks like Zowie prancing around in a room with some fluorescent tubes, instead of a cohesive bold pop video.

But it’s ok. Zowie has loads of energy and she can totally work the camera. And that is such a refreshing change from the artists who come with impressive CVs but end up looking highly nervous on camera.

Director: Garth Badger

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