Audio-visual mediums are somewhat of a double edged sword. On the one hand, there exists the immense capacity for a synergy to be born that breathes previously unfounded dimensions into both aspects of the piece (let’s call it a music video, to avoid confusion and wild tangents). On the other-hand, a poorly micromanaged music video bears the ability to tarnish a product that could otherwise exist as a standalone success!
What do you get when you cross a Lord of the Rings lookalike, a tambourine and some smooth dance moves? Shakes’ knee slappin’ new single Tambourine Girls!
Make no mistake, we all love to be engaged by an eye-and-ear catching music video, but with such a broad and diverse selection being available we can be quite critical when one fails to use the sword correctly and winds up cutting themselves.
New Zealand four-piece Shakes is one group who has seamlessly identified which side of the sword cuts the cake into delicious slices of duality* with their new single and accompanying video Tambourine Girls.
Splicing the desired elements of an upbeat, bubbling indie-rock banger with visual stimulation from a handsome, turtle-neck donning gentleman who slinks and slides in smooth timing, Tambourine Girls will undoubtedly satisfy your craving for some warm, autumnal, feel-good vibes.
Straight from the get go, the joyous nature is conveyed by both song and video. A terrifically crunchy guitar riff, which playfully toys with alternate tonalities is introduced to whet our appetite. The riff hops into our ears alongside a pulsating bass line, grooving kit work and, of course, the jingling of a tambourine.
Our hero, turtle-neck-sweater repping, Aragorn-lookalike**, affirms that we should be feeling the love as he enters screen with a jovial smile with his tambourine in hand as opposed to the Aragorn’s signature sword in the Lord of the Rings movies; a nice change if you ask me.
After setting the scene, the guitar riff moves to spacey chords as vocals enter with crisp clarity and control that leaves space between phrases and allows us to soak in every last drop of lyrical intention. Our protagonist abandons his tambourine prop and begins cutting shapes; isolating, twisting, sliding and beaming in a carefree display of liberty that incites the desire to dance alongside him.
To say it’s difficult to maintain interest and originality through one focus point for an entire song would be a steep understatement, but our protagonist gives it a proper go and shows up big. All sorts of whacky props, ranging from a floating bird skull to a corded telephone and even a tenor sax, are mercilessly thrown his way as he flawlessly adopts them in his stride in a manner that speaks volumes for his ability to improvise and go with the flow, no matter how off-track the subject matter rides.
Transitioning into the chorus sees the introduction of a higher vocal harmony and more active tambourine bashing and guitar strumming, effectively bolstering the previously spacey texture into a thick and wholesome pulse that maintains clarity but really gets your blood pumping in a musically induced high.
Old mate only adds to the bouncy energy as he is swamped by a mass of streamers and sings along shamelessly into a comically disconnected microphone. This energy continues throughout, climaxing in a final chorus where we see turtleneck and everything beneath thrown aside, streamers aplenty and our favourite tambourine re-enter. In perfectly cyclical fashion the chorus moves into and ends on the same riff that the song starts with, linking us back to familiarity and allowing for reflection on the good times we were just awarded.
Tambourine Girls really hits the nail on the head; it lifts you from the ground, smacks a grin onto your face and asks for your hand in a dance. So let’s linger on this tune for a while and let it fill us with its positivity as we keep our eyes peeled for more feel-good anthems to come from the hands and voices of Shakes.
*Ed. Pushing the pun here a little.
**More like Bret Mackenzie’s elf character IMO