Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to EyeContact. You are invited to respond to reviews and contribute to discussion by registering to participate.

JH

Sweet Yellow Intoxicant

AA
View Discussion

These guys attain coolness by being uncool, an ‘art group' that in some songs celebrates Jane Austen and Handel and being over fifty. In a peculiar way they are avant-garde writers because they force you to discover new beauty in things normally despised—like say, the chemicals found in hand sanitising liquid, listed and recited in the comic by Andy Warhol.

The Audio Foundation with Wiggley Tapes

Wellington/Auckland

 

Wendyhouse
Banana Wine

 

Comic with CD

Using the considerable drawing skills of its two gifted musicians—Aotearoa-based Mr. Pudding (Bryce Galloway) and Germany-based EE Monk (Daniel Powell)—Wendyhouse (a band which has been going since 1992) here uses the speech bubble format of comics to inventively showcase the lyrics of twenty-four songs that make up three EPs from 2010, 2014 and 2016.

While there are plenty of gorgeous chord progressions and grunty solo instrumentation in these short, often haunting, pop tunes, what I’m really impressed with is the love of language, its aural textures and cadences that are not strictly beholden to any logical strictures of meaning. After enjoying the cartoon presentation in conjunction with the music and lyrics, you can put the 46 page comic to one side and just drift with the music and free associative lyrics. You can enjoy the poetry and humour without anticipating the presence of ‘serious’ philosophy. Yet there is nothing trivial either. The ‘nonsense’ is absorbing.

These guys attain coolness by being uncool, an ‘art group’ that in some songs celebrates Jane Austen and Handel and being over fifty. In a peculiar way they are avant-garde writers because they force you to discover new beauty in things normally despised—like say, the chemicals found in hand sanitising liquid, listed and recited in the comic by Andy Warhol. There are also ranting discussions about the disempowering consequences of the over-used word ‘fuck’, or a deconstruction of the term ‘assets’: its form and its meaning. It is agile writing, tumbling rollicking (often improvised) language—rich in its multiple political, filmic and art historical references—that keeps on surprising.

One treat is a burbling recitation by a stunted version of Johnny (played by David Thewlis), the (normally lean) embittered thuggish intellectual-motormouth from Mike Leigh’s Naked (1993). The chopped-up wandering language about getting dressed and breakfast, in the soporific Mogadon Blues, goes: lack of sleep, too small, prescription drugs, too big, recreational drug taking, hard soles, nuclear fallout, back to front, processed foods, Inside out, use-by-date, wedding train, close quarters, starch, and flies.

I like the avoidance of a conventional narrative, though of course an understated one is there (sort of). When not central characters from famous films or art historical periods, ants or fleas instead have meandering soliloquies or debates. Brilliantly entertaining and thoughtful.

John Hurrell

Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

Recent Posts by John Hurrell

JH
Installation of Ian Scott's 'Realist paintings from the late 1960s' at Michael Lett.

Ian Scott Paintings

MICHAEL LETT

Auckland

 

Ian Scott
Realist paintings from the late 1960s

 

7 September - 5 October 2019

JH

Wai Ching Chan at Window

WINDOW UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND

Aucland

 

Wai Ching Chan
Hold

 

4 September - 28 September 2019

JH
Installation of Campbell Patterson's 'Tight Jeans' digital videos: one 2018, the other 2007; one 51'57'', the other 46'09''.

Patterson at Lett

MICHAEL LETT

Auckland

 

Campbell Patterson
diaries

 

7 September - 5 October 2019

JH
Richard Bryant, Link, 2019, acrylic on panel, 300 x 350 mm

Richard Bryant Paintings

IVAN ANTHONY GALLERY

Auckland

 

Richard Bryant
The Circle and the Seal

 

28 August - 21 September 2019