The Katene Sisters “Keeping Up the Love Thing”

The Katene Sisters were a Shortland Street plot. It was revealed that nurse Jackie Manu (Nancy Brunning) had previously been part of an girl group called the Katene Sisters, rounded out by a couple of her cousins (who I assume were the Katene sisters). The trio reunited for a talent contest at Kennedy’s bar, ready to reprise their hit song “Keeping Up the Love Thing”.

One of the cousins was played by Annie Crummer, the other by an actress whose name is forgotten to the mists of time. But this sister wasn’t important, as the plot required her to get ill and drop out of the talent contest, with nurse Carrie Burton (Lisa Crittenden) stepping in as a last-minute Katene.

The result was a single that hit number three in the New Zealand charts and included this video which was uploaded to YouTube around the time of Shorty’s 20th anniversary celebrations in May 2012.

The video is simple but fun. Shot in black and white, it’s based around the trio singing the song in a recording studio. Pop star Annie dominates the song, overshadowing the two actors’ more restrained vocals, but the video gives plenty of time to the two soap stars.

We also get glimpses of the studio control room and I think that’s ex-Holidaymaker and Annie Crummer’s collaborator Barbara Griffin with a head full of luxuriant dreads, keeping an eye on things.

And that’s basically it. Occasionally there’ll be a dramatic close up of lips or an eye, but it’s mostly just the girls messing around, having fun.

The song wasn’t quite good enough for the fictional trio to win the talent contest. That went to Chris and Carmen’s disco number – Carmen was, after all, the Levin disco champion. And there have been other Shortland Street pop spin-offs – Dr Sarah’s sultry cover of the Buzzcocks “Ever Fallen In Love” made it to number 24 in the charts, but nothing has quite had the joy and energy of the Katene Sisters.

Best bit: Annie’s dramatic braid flick.

Director: Tristan Strange
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… giant flowers.

JPS Experience “Into You”

The song is underpinned by some nice nice nice crunchy guitar, with lovely pop melody over the top. The video doesn’t try to fight this, and the camera swooshes around the band performing the song with red and green stage lighting along with bits of blue and white. There’s also swirly lava lamp-like stuff, because lava lamps were cool in the 90s.

Also a relic of the 90s – Dave’s striped top, making him a perfect 90s indie pinup. The JPS lads have perfected the lingering camera glance. It’s as if to say, “Hey, girl. U know I’m in an indie band, but I always got time 4 u”.

The JPS Experience have previously gone for bigger concepts in their videos, but I think this simpler video is one of their strongest. When you have a great song, you don’t need to spice things up with exotic locations, lol props or bleeding edge digital effects.

Best bit: The sneer and the pout.

Director: Jonathan Ogilvie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… is it you or is it me?

Headless Chickens “Mr Moon”

This is probably the most hard-sell, down-the-barrel-of-the-camera the Headless Chickens have made yet. Chris and Fiona take turns at singing the song in close up, with the rest of the band in the background. They both look utterly beautiful, in that dark sexy Headless Chickens way.

The song is bookended with sampled dialogue, and this is represented by various Chickens miming the words, as well as a reel-to-reel recorder being played like an instrument. The massive influence of street fashion in the early ’90s is also apparent, with Fiona wearing a Stüssy cap. Stüssy was so very cool.

The video is in black and white, with floating, overlapping circles (moons?) of pink, purple and a third which a overlaps to turn the monochrome into colour. Like the song, the visuals manage to be dark with tiny uplifting moments that only serve to make the dark even darker.

Best bit: The lone appearance of a person wearing a chicken head.

Director: Jonathan Ogilvie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

P.S. Owen reminds me that this song uses the chorus melody of “The Sleepwalker” by This Kind of Punishment, perhaps best known for being covered by Cat Power.

Next… the perfect indie guy lover man.

Moana and the Moahunters “Tahi”

Moana’s all gothed up in black clothes and black lipstick, but the song is anything but goth. It’s a really uplifting dance track, that feels more like something from the mid-’80s crossed with some bangin’ house keyboards.

There is some green screen, but it’s done with much more style than we’ve seen over the past two years. As well as the Moahunters’ girl-group styles, there are kapa haka performers and some black and white footage of little kids in a suburban backyard.

The best thing about this song is the Moahunters lovely harmonies. In a way, I’d much rather see the trio singing their silky “Aue! Aue!” part against a green screen than any of the other stuff.

Best bit: the splendid bone and greenstone jewellery of the Moahunters.

Director: Kerry Brown
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the floating circles of sexy hard-sell.

Missing videos from 1993

There are 17 videos missing from 1993, including two Hamilton bogan rock classics, early work from guys who’d go on to more success in Stellar and Splitter, and the return of Kiwi rock legend Larry Morris.
Continue reading Missing videos from 1993