Nothing is more special than when you re-discover a long-lost favourite. When I saw that MOJO had listed The Clean’s “Anthology” reissue as one of the best of the year (Q3), it was like being kissed by an angel. Discovering the music of New Zealand’s indie scene in the 80s was as grand of a discovery as anything Dr. Jones could find in any temple.
There’s lots to love about The Clean (often thought as the VU for New Zealand): simple music style, quirky lyrics and absolutely no-fuss. “Anthology” was released as a collection of the band’s earliest works. While the band has released several albums, “Anthology” is still as important – if not more. Their label Flying Nun Records, perhaps the most iconic label to come out of New Zealand, housed many of the great kiwi bands like The Verlaines and The Chills. It was under their name that “Anthology” was released and appropriately so. Much of The Clean’s early work is infectious yet complex despite it’s simplicity – tracks like “Draw(in)g a (W)hole” and “Point That Thing” are some of the highlights worth listening to whether you’re familiar with the band or not yet.
Though there is lots to love, the easiest track to fall in love with is the “Anything Could Happen”. You really can’t listen to it just once. It is pure lyrical whimsy. Admittedly, a bit abstract (dancers and highways, a doctor and a junkyard), but I’d like to believe what the chorus is saying:
“Anything could happen and it could be right now. The choice is yours – so make it worthwhile.”
I interpret the song as a struggle with getting on from an emotional slump or the demons within. Hell, is there anyone who has moved to a large city that can’t relate to this?
“Well here I am in the big city
I got no heart and I got no pity
Can’t you see I’m on the run
Can’t you see I’m not having any fun”
The Clean is worth listening to. If you haven’t heard them already – prepare to fall in love. If you already are in love, it’s so easy to fall head over heels all over again.