What do you do in case you’re nursing a very unhealthy breakup and feeling further burnt out in your solo profession? In case you’re New Zealand indie scene vet Kane Strang, you progress throughout the nation, make like a mid-life disaster dad shopping for a Ferrari and begin from scratch with a brand new band to assist rock away the ache.
The band in query is Office Dog, and fortunately, Strang’s heartfelt and hard-hitting songs stay on the forefront on the trio’s debut album, Spiel. The venture arrives tomorrow (Jan. 26) by New West worldwide after its Antipodean launch final September on revered New Zealand indie rock mecca Flying Nun. Whereas Strang slaved over a lot of his three solo albums with what he calls an “unhealthy” stage of obsession and tinkering, Spiel is tough, rugged and fast, with shades of Wire, Constructed to Spill, Pinback and Flying Nun lo-fi pioneers the Clear deftly coloring its 12 tracks.
“I actually can’t think about these as Kane Strang solo songs, as a result of Office Dog feels a lot extra natural to me and fewer pressured,” the ever-youthful Strang tells SPIN over Zoom from Dunedin. “Spiel was simply us reside in a room, enjoying collectively. All of the instrumentation was performed over two days. I used to be so shocked that we made one thing so rapidly when earlier than, I’d layer issues without end and ensure it was all this little excellent bundle. It was an actual eye-opening expertise for me.”
Strang is joined in Office Dog by drummer Mitchell Innes and bassist Rassani Tolovaa, each of whom had performed in prior incarnations of his solo group. Collectively, they spent a yr writing both at their homes or within the basement of a church, with Strang adapting his serpentine guitar elements to cowl for the shortage of a lead participant. “We didn’t even take into consideration exhibits as a result of it was throughout COVID, so we couldn’t actually play reside even when we needed to,” he says.
On highlights such because the chiming “Tightropes,” the garrulous “Gleam” and the alternate universe ‘90s underground anthem “Huge Air,” the let-it-rip/guitar-bass-drums-only type of songwriting and manufacturing serves as the best backdrop for Strang’s present frame of mind. Since Office Dog have a “no demo” coverage, most of the lyrics had been labored out throughout multiple-day solo journeys from Dunedin in New Zealand’s northernmost nook to Auckland within the far south (“I had these shitty ass Voice Memos blasting the entire manner down the nation,” Strang jokes).
“After I was writing, it was throughout one of many craziest occasions in my life,” he continues. “I used to be additionally approaching 30, and that’s a traditional factor that performs in your thoughts. I used to be actually attempting to make use of the songs to course of all of it. That’s why there’s so many mentions of sunshine and darkish on the report. I noticed, these are the themes and metaphors which might be simply falling out of me, so why combat it? I believe that’s when the report actually began to return collectively and make sense. It’s about change and accepting change and attempting to get right into a extra hopeful spot — like, out of the darkish and into the sunshine, as clichéd as that sounds.”
Office Dog’s allegiance with Flying Nun is now all of the sweeter for Strang, who initially felt pigeonholed by frequent comparisons to key label artists with whom he was largely unfamiliar. That started to vary after the Clear’s David Kilgour randomly reached out to him on Fb and requested him to open some 2014 exhibits on the now-closed Dunedin-area venue Chick’s Lodge, which required Strang to do some speedy cramming.
“I used to be like, shit! I want to determine what these guys have performed and who all these individuals are,” he recollects. “I noticed there’s positively worse issues to be in comparison with, as a result of that entire motion was actually particular. It was simply a type of occasions and locations the place individuals had been bouncing concepts off one another and making wonderful, distinctive issues. The Flying Nun crew is simply wonderful. We’d be fairly misplaced with out them.”
For now, Office Dog is itching to hit the street in assist of Spiel this yr, notably to locales outdoors of Australia and New Zealand. “We’ve bought nice momentum for the time being and I’m virtually scared to cease, as a result of final time I finished, I didn’t play for like two years,” Strang says, earlier than gesturing to the attractive blue sky behind him. “I really like being right here and I really feel very comfy right here, however I believe I’m able to not be comfy once more for the primary time shortly and really get on the market, meet individuals and take Spiel all over.”
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