I want to introduce you to this cultural phenomenon ingratiating itself into the great collective subconscious of bullshit urbanites living in and around Wellington, New Zealand. You’ve likely come across this genre of music if you’ve ever been to a show in the last decade at famous venues ‘Meow’ or ‘San Fran Bath House’ or ‘Caroline’. It’s the music that the YIMBY cunt from ‘White Man Behind a Desk’ would listen to, and would feature in ‘Salient Magazine’ as either a review or interview, in which they ask the unlucky tragedienne bassist ‘What is your favorite fruit?’. I might even extend this to describe the genre itself as ‘Salient Magazine music’. This is what I call ‘Burbery-rock’. Describing bands like THE BETHS or FAZERDAZE, or ‘The okayest band you’ve seen a few times in passing’.
It’s the perfect descriptor for the Recycle Boutique-ass bands, and middle-class-ass music, despite the fact that I doubt any of the participants in this actually wear Burberry. It’s more of an ongoing feature of the soul, their respective essences within the sea of transmigration is wearing Burberry. While they’re more likely to be wearing maybe mustard yellow Vans Authentics with pant leg rolled-up or maybe even denim overalls and a ‘dad hat’, their spiritual counterpart would be wearing boat shoes and trying out god awful $350 per gram cut to shit cocaine at a condo in the North Shore during home visits on uni breaks. Good lord while writing this up I looked at Meow’s Facebook page and there’s a band playing soon called ‘CORDUROY’.
The music itself most often has slowish rhythm guitar with heavy-reverb and/or a little flanging, possibly some synth and lyric drawls singing about ‘remember when’, maybe veering on Dream Pop (which itself is in the dictionary next to ‘middle-class’) or Indie Pop strumming at gentle and twee pop hooks. There’s also a common occurrence of vocal harmonies (though not always) and words synonymous to ‘honey’ and ‘vapour’ seem to be somewhat to-the-theme. However, it is always and every time low-energy in that Very Kiwi way making it oh so impermissible to cool things like anger.
The thing about this is that I wouldn’t call this type of music bad by any means, but more like what I said earlier, as in okay, if not maybe some of it being a bit boring and inexplicably tied in with the whole relaxed dickhead mulled wine flat party shtick inherent to the city. Fuck, I even like FAZERDAZE, and half these bands aren’t even from Wellington, but bands called ‘POLYESTER’ or ‘JUNO IS’ or ‘THE BUTLERS’ are exactly who you’d expect to be doing $20 shows at San Fran (no one in San Francisco calls it ‘San Fran’ btw). Burberry-rock, that’s what it is. It’s ‘I went to a Decile 10 public school and all my merch features line art on a soft colour palette’ music.