The Clean


Set 11 2005, 22:16

Having grown up in New Zealand, I've flirted with an interest in many other local acts (though it's safe to say, not the ones that tend to make the charts these days) and collected plenty of 7"s on the way to fulfilling that interest. And yet it's still The Clean who have put out my favourite songs, possibly due to their uncanny pop sense.

I guess they are the seminal NZ indie act, after all. They came from that same scene that spawned other influential early Flying Nun bands like The Chills and Toy Love (one of Chris Knox's projects: I don't really think there's much history of underground NZ music that can exist without considering his role, whatever you think of his music).

In any case, The Clean (brothers David and Hamish Kilgour, with Robert Scott) released the first single on the seminal Flying Nun label back in 1981, the fantastic "Tally Ho!". But I'm not going to talk about that song because it's not playing now.

No, I'm going talk about Slug Song. It's on their second EP -- my favourite -- the Great Sounds Great, Good Sounds Good, So-So Sounds So-So, Bad Sounds Bad, Rotten Sounds Rotten EP (you can call it the "Great Sounds EP" for short if you want, and look for the Odditties compilation if you want to hear it).

Already in evidence is the definitive kiwi jangly guitar sound, the wonderful use of keyboard melody, the earnest pleading vocals. OK, I'm no musicologist, so I'm not going to say too much. This song actually sounds a lot like "Beatnik", which is also on the same EP. But it's still great.

Some of the best music in the world is recorded on 4-track in someone's bedroom. This is some of that music.


  • maxinemogadon

    I think they traded on their 'seminal' status too much and the later albums weren't that good. Too Bats-y if you ask me. Wasn't Peter Gutteridge in The Clean at some point? I bet he helped on the droney songs...

    Set 12 2005, 8:36
  • hoshuteki

    Well, yeah, their great stuff is definitely the early- to mid-80s, and from the live shows I saw them play a few years back, I think they know that. I'm not honestly sure about the Gutteridge connection, except that he's been involved with just about everyone, so quite possibly...

    Set 12 2005, 9:20
  • Qosephine

    If they're going to give their songs names like that, they are no friends of mine!

    Set 12 2005, 13:54
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