Two albums in, with the link between each moment of slurring spoken word, piano ballad, and discordant “fuck you” song becoming less and less clear, we all ought to be asking how, in 2016, Dunedin is still spewing out bands as strange as Opposite Sex. Is it all the native psilocybin? The isolation? The musical legacy?
Strange feelings come out in strange ways, as tends to happen in a city of miserable winter, depression, and a uni populace crawling with the sorts of fucking jocks about whom the songs basically write themselves. Lucy, in Supermarket: “Make me cute, make me sweet, make me fragile and petite / So I can be pushed around by some dickhead who likes rugby, beer and meat”. Swipe right. Tim’s standout moment, Tasman’s Puke, spells out in no polite terms his take on NZ’s colonial past. And with Reggie’s voice drifting away with his guitar in Regicide, it makes it abundantly clear that Opposite Sex have as many ways to do songs as they have songs.
That?s because, in spite of the patented “sound” of their city, the real Dunedin influence on Opposite Sex is an ideology. There’s punk, of course, as usual, but the bizarro lens of Xpressway — the Dunedin label — what with its Marxist dues and DIY purism, is the band’s heftiest inheritance thanks to how many of their peers come from this older, noisy school. It only helped their underground reputation that certain big-name ex-members of The Fall and The Pastels wound up being big fans of this obscure New Zealand band.
Whichever way you have ’em Opposite Sex have already left a permanent impression within today’s younger underground generation. Besides that one fact, there aren’t many unifying features of a band so scattered, but so brilliantly chaotic, and by no means confused. But that’s just what you get from a band with so much uncontrollable inspiration, with imagination that’s like not unlike mashing one’s hands against the keyboard of existence and expecting Shakespeare to come out. Judging by HAMLET, it’s just funny when it sort of does.
“It’s absolutely brilliant . . . I absolutely adore it. It’s going to be in my top five albums of the year definitely.” –Marc Riley, BBC 6Music on OS’s debut LP
“The new wave of New Zealand pop begins here . . . it’s remarkable, leaping from sea-sick waltzes and crunchy post-punk to ADD-pop” –Uncut
“The kind of half-melted, buckled pop that suggests they’ve just re-entered earth’s atmosphere after a long strange trip away.” –Q
“Tim Player’s split schedule as drummer, Meltzerian zine-slave and performance artist personifies . . . exactly what is the best thing about Dunedin: a city where a music and art are the same.” –Terminal Boredom
“I liked it how everyone died at the end, it was just like watching Hamlet.” –Random guy at a show