Great Sounds Great; Bad Sounds Bad: Watercolours ‘Pazzida’

Watercolours

Great Sounds Great; Bad Sounds Bad is a column which sees a panel of writers for The Corner review a range of local singles and grade them out of 10. Check out the song below, read through their opinions and let us know in the comments section your own thoughts and what you’d like to see reviewed next time around.

[YouTube / Bandcamp]

[Grade: 5.7]

Miriama Aoake: Poor man’s Feist – its like an obscure fork in the road between indie-folk/dream pop; where Metcalf has attempted to walk down both at the same time. Its not offensive, but its not exactly thought-provoking either. Pros: nailed the tap routine and the excessive amount of chairs reminded me of Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd on ‘shrooms in their hotel room in Knocked Up. [5]

Miles Sutton: ‘One day you’re gonna cry cry cry and I am gonna be the flag they hoist half mast to mourn your melancholy, oh and the tears will trickle face first down my face first and I’ll be the girl who hopes you’ll hoist your flag for me’. Gorgeous. She doesn’t sound like she’s exploiting any emotion in her delivery either; bruised, but never gunning for Greys Anatomy. Also, don’t shrug it off like more post-Florence avant-pop, Watercolours write some of the best lyrics I’ve heard on a New Zealand On Air track in ages here. Pay attention to her phrasing and it clicks way sicker too, like that brittle synth break after the verse becomes all affecting and that. Wonderful lyrics, great song. [8]

Stephen Clover: Quite fond of this choon — it’s a definite grower — and I can’t wait to find out what the rest of the panel think of the accompanying and curious clip which perhaps in a world of over(tly)-sexualised music video is the analogue of a ’70s David Hamilton soft-focus no-plotter. But no-one here’s gunna put it any better than youtube commenter wnet8, 1 month ago, and so I quote: “Nice nipples.” [6]

Sean Quay: Why does Chelsea Jade have washing stacked on her head? Is there a problem with her neck? Have the muscles on one side entropied? Is that why she finds it necessary to rest her skull on any nearby horizontal surface? How about some more empty symbolism? People will think you are really creative. In fact I wish I’d never seen this video because it does the song little justice. While it’s difficult to feel moved or excited by something so dispassionate this track would work great in any situation where the music needs to be unobtrusive, such as a café or lift. [3]

Hayden Currie: When I first saw this on C4 it was just another dull video for another unengaging song. But listening to it again, it’s alright. The music and lyrics are cool, not as quite as captivating or atmospheric as some similar stuff out there, but not bad, and maybe better without watching the video. As nicely shot, edited and designed as it is, it gives me bad flashbacks of boring design school projects where you had to express postmodernist mumbo-jumbo through staid furniture and textile arrangements. The listless dancing reminds me of design school too. [5]

Luke Jacobs: This song has elements that are great but it all feels a bit jumbled and put together in the wrong order. The drum beats sound completely off compared to the guitar and vocals, which makes the song feel stale. It’s as if the songs velocity gets sucked out of it just when you want it to soar.

‘Pazzida’ works best in the interlude around the two-minute mark and yet its weakest moment occurs just after that. Watercolours has quite a few remixes and they all seem to fix this fundamental problem that ‘Pazzida’ has. This awkward stilted nature.

For all the gloss it’s a simple song and one that could have been quite great if a few things were a tad different. [6]

Eden Bradfield: There’s hardly any way of writing about this without comparing Watercolours to The Charity Children of Berlin’s Worst Art Films, since they’re both together on this weeks GSG/BSB, and their aesthetics are somewhat similar – clean and like the cafes that seem to be popping up everywhere these days, with big lightbulbs and cute tiles and soda made from soda siphons. And serious. Like, soda siphons and cute dresses and national geographic. Which is fine – I dig national geographic and cute dresses, and even little frilly ankle socks, and I can see how the whole aesthetic is appealing and of the moment. But where Charity Children went to Glassons and “shopped the look” and threw out last season’s clothes, Watercolours actually presents a convincing case, with interesting textures and buildup and layering and a drumbeat that wouldn’t be out of place on something by Peter Gabriel. I’m not convinced I like it, but it’s something I’m not particularly fond of that’s well-made. Craftsmanship, innit? [5]

Andrew B. White: I was a little bit worried about this at first listen. The intro was that Kimbra-type ‘boom-sha-chik-a-chik boosh’ drum beat and more of those whimsy, quirky vocals which seem to be popular – like when Brooke Fraser changed her vocal style (something in the water obviously). What redeems the song is the nice synth line that pops up and carries the tune. Sounds great with the bass notes too. And there is a neat little synth solo. So, yes quite listenable in the end. Not quite sure about the video though – nipples aside, it seems quite ‘conceptual’ and whoever made it probably goes to Elam or something. I say just listen to the song. [8]

Taylor Groves: I like the non-drum percussion heaps here, it’s like the sounds you want when you record yourself hitting your stuff with stuff. Some of the songwriting is so good, but I think a lot of the instrumental work is a bad call, especially some of the synth. Nostalgia rules, so hard, and Watercolours is my very late high-school and very early before-I-met-Reuben-Winter high school days dream. Is it so bad to love that? [6]

11 Comments

  1. Alistair Deverick says:

    “Nice nipples” — Fuck you Stephen Clover. What a redneck piece of shit thing to say, even if you are quoting someone else. Do you also shout that out the window of your Mazda 323 as you cruise Queen St?

    • Maurice says:

      Have to agree!

    • Louie G says:

      Whatever side of the argument you’re on – it would be great to see someone use air quotes as they reference someone else’s previous yell from a moving vehicle.

    • stephen says:

      Oh dearie.. the point — that I didn’t say that and I wouldn’t say that and I was hoping that discussion of the song would be able to be done outside of what anyone thinks of the video — seems to have been lost somewhere along the route. So sorry.

      • In this case nipples are art, not porn.

      • Doug Hyde says:

        But Stephen, you’re sole commentary on the song is “Quite fond of this choon — it’s a definite grower” and from then on you’re talking about the video. So your defence is a load of rubbish. As lazy as the “review” itself. If you actually intended your submission to come across as anything other than a smug, patronising, dismissive few lines from a jaded, aging part-time rocker, then your critical faculties are severely stunted. If you really thought your “nice nipple” youtube comment reference would come off as some kind of illuminating irony, rather than the flippant waste of space that it is, then you’d do well to go and school yourself on the difference. The other thing is . . . bro. . . it’s not just about what you intended. It’s about your ability to express that intention as a writer. The reader has the same right to ask that of you as you have to ask it of the artist. It’s incredibly clear you don’t have that ability. Alas the same goes for most of this awful, awful panel, so it’s understandable up to a point that you perhaps really believe you’re doing some kind of cultural service. Your’e not. So you should probably become . . . oh I don’t know . . . maybe a “free noise” musician? Either that or a politician. ‘Cos you’re oh so ironic “nice nipples” reference is about as witty as John Key’s “a bit gay” comment.

      • Alistair says:

        Hey Stephen – I don’t really mean fuck you. I do find that style of comment to be boringly substance-less and essentially just follower gathering a la Simon Sweetman but I think it’s best ignored. The only reason I commented on this is because it’s a carelessly hurtful thing to say about an actual person who is going to read this review. No big thing, sorry for my overly aggressive tone

      • Here’s an idea – if it’s ‘all about the music’ then
        A) don’t do a video
        B) don’t do a video with nipples in it

        I’m sure Stephen didn’t mean to be offensive but there are nipples in the video. That actually takes some balls in NZ where people tend to be a bit shy and uptight about such things. Good on her for being brave.

        PS: John Key’s too much of a douche to be cool enough to be gay.

      • stephen says:

        jesus christ. What fucking nipples?

      • stephen says:

        In all seriousness though, I did do a really poor job of making my point(s). Where I fell down was probably breaking my own rules and sliding into the lazy depths of sarcasm (use of “better”).

        Well reasoned, Doug. And good internet skills too. You’re really 2 for oh on my ass!

  2. Sean Quay, pretty sure they thought the stacked shirt thing was cool after they watched El Guincho – Bombay

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