The Mutton Birds “Nature”

Don and the lads are back, and Jan also makes an appearance with the Mutton Birds’s second single, “Nature”. A fuller, noisier cover of Fourmyula’s psychedelic ode to the great outdoors, the video takes its cue from the 1960s and utilises all the psychedelic visual effects the ’90s have to offer. So there’s colour tints, swirling animated backgrounds and green screen layering. It’s like a mashup of all the previously viewed green screen vids.

Don lays on a bit of Front Lawn-style comedy with his sideways glances at the little singing people who keep popping up, and there’s the crazy mouth-to-mouth transfer of, uh, nature, not unlike the controversial mouth-to-mouth transfer in Head Like a Hole’s “Fish Across Face” video. Only animated nature power isn’t a public health risk.

The video shows that the band aren’t quite buying into Fourmyula’s original hippy-style nature loving. The Mutton Birds’ version is more like someone who’s got high and suddenly realised that, HEY GUYS NATURE IS REALLY AWESOME!!!! But nature is also scary with those beetles and lizards that suddenly appear.

Best bit: the interpretive dance in the middle, which ends with the dancers in a heartfelt embrace. Such is the power of nature.

Director: Fane Flaws
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the challenges of polygyny.

The Mutton Birds “Dominion Road”

There’s a second “Dominion Road” video, the “UK version”. In it, the Mutton Birds play the song in a empty warehouse, filmed with blue filters, flash editing, random out-of-focusness, and Don McGlashan’s wearing sunglasses. It looks like a mid-’90s attempt at turning The Mutton Birds into an antipodean Oasis.

But thankfully we don’t need to concern ourselves with that video. The one we care about is the earlier version promoting what was their debut single.

The original video alternates between black and white footage of the band performing the song in a stark white studio, and the troubled subject of the song walking around Dominion Road.

Don McGlashan looks like Norman Cook with his short back and sides, possibly going for a cleaner look from his curly days with the Front Lawn. Oh, speaking of which – it’s nice to see Don back after his previous appearance with the very first funding round.

The scenes of a worn down inner Auckland suburb may not have the edge of an empty warehouse, but it’s those shots that give the song its context. This is not a love song, but it’s where This Is Not A Love Shop used to be.

The Dominion Road of 1992 feels different to the Dominion Road of today. It’s less multicultural and didn’t have as many posh bits. You’d probably have to get three-quarters of the way down Dominion Road to have the same effect today.

Best bit: Don’s scared-of-heights acting during the “up 10,000 feet” part.

Director: Fane Flaws
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… wave your hair in the air, and wave it like you just don’t care.