Ha the UnclearDay 16 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music month marathon comes from Auckland-via-Dunedin band Ha The Unclear. It’s a sickeningly good new single “Big City”

Ha The Unclear are the unchallenged masters of the NZ vernacular song in the same way that Courtney Barnett nails the philosophical minutiae of everyday Australia existence.

Ha The Unclear would no doubt appreciate if a bit of the fame and fortune and world tours of the feted Australian rubbed off on them. But here in NZ we are mostly still embarrassed about ourselves and our funny ex-cent and musicians who perform as their natural Nu Zild selves.

Actually, we are mostly still embarrassed about local musicians full stop. So embarrassed our commercial radio stations still prefer overseas sounds and locals who re-heat generic international sounds, justifying this on the basis “it’s what the public want” even though it must be hard to know what you want – what you really, really want – if you never hear it.

Not me. I’d much prefer a local song about the disconnection of people in big cities as told through the experience of narrator struggling to be a responsible first-responder putting a vomiting stranger on a bus in the recovery position so they don’t choke, while the rest of the indifferent human cargo shuffle off at the next stop. In the Big City, “everyone’s anonymous.” And all done with the wit and casual storytelling style of CB.

Ha The Unclear have songwriting and musical chops to spare.  “Big City” sparkles with the zip and zest of Squeeze and early Split Enz and the chorus is a A-grade earworm. C’mon New Zealand, don’t be anonymous.

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