Given the year-zero feel to the so-called Dunedin Sound and its vanguard, the Flying Nun label, I was surprised to hear Matthew Bannister say without The Beatles, Dunedin would, to this day, be better known for a pretty railway station, a chocolate factory and the Scottish influence (ie hard-drinking) than it’s music.
Maybe I was looking too closely at the post-punk influences. But I can see something now when I listen to One-Man Bannister‘s version of The Fab Four’s I’m Only Sleeping where he gets the chance, finally, to sing “Keeping an eye on the world going by, my window, taking my time, lying there staring at the ceiling, waiting for a sneaky feeling,” Yes, indeed, Matthew you, formerly of Dribbling Darts of Pleasure, The Weather and Sneaky Feelings.
And while I harbour doubts at Bannister’s statement about the Scousers’ influence on the Otago music scene of the 1980s (The Cure and New Order may have made more sway), I can listen to One-Man Bannister’s Evolver (Powertool records) and understand the basics behind Sneaky Feelings, one of New Zealand’s most popular bands.
Bannister has gone through the Beatles’ 1966 classic Revolver, song by song, riff by riff, and word by word. But it’s far from some sort of karaoke night at the Dog and Cake recorded on SmartPhone. Bannister adds his own vocal interpretation of each song and, fundamentally, fuels it with a new musical direction.
Love You To gets an extra chord or two; For No One has, gasp, a country tinge (forgive him Father) and Yellow Submarine feels like it was written for a day on a Northland beach, which I am sure Lennon, Macca, Dode and The Other One would have wanted it to sound. Meanwhile, album closer, Tomorrow Never Knows is exactly how I would have wanted the Happy Mondays, World of Twist, and other ‘Madchester’ bands to do this track.
That’s his best take on all the songs, and Bannister certainly makes a very good fist of doing The Beatles (where so many have failed before) but I still have a hankering of giving the original a twirl.
One-Man Bannister’s version of And Your Bird Can Sing features on a Powertools records compilation, I Have No Idea, that includes artists from both New Zealand and California, an initiative that involves US-based Greg Franco, a Mr All-rounder in Los Angeles.
Of the tracks here, Porky is particularly taken by Kiwis Nick Raven, Dan West, Ghosts of Electricity, Sugarbug and Transcendental Learning Collective, and from the States, Rough Church, Tommy Santee Klaws and The World Record are the most illuminating …. The CD also comes with a fanzine – or perhaps it’s the other way round – Drill, with features on the bands, as well as an expose on New Zealand’s poor environmental record, and which is worth getting in itself.
Due to copyright reasons, Evolver can’t be obtained digitally, so buy the album, and the compilation/zine from powertoolrecords.co.nz
Check out our review of Drill cover star Nick Raven and Factory Kids …https://craighaggis.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/nick-raven-factory-kids-wilberforces-salad-boys-and-salon-kingsadore/
and also Transcendental Learning Collective: https://craighaggis.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/a-good-workman-credits-his-powertools/