There is a lot of justified hype about the New Zealand band Office Dog, signed to the legendary Flying Nun label in the southern hemisphere and with genetic roots to that mecca of indie music, Dunedin. Having expanded their horizons by signing to northern hemisphere label New West Records and releasing their single ‘Big Air’ last month, the band has unveiled new single ‘Gleam, cementing their reputation as a band that is about to explode.
Office Dog, hailing from Ōtepoti/Dunedin and residing in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland are a trio led by Kane Strang on guitar/vocals alongside Rassani Tolovaaon on bass and Mitchell Inneson on drums.
Strang says of the track:
Throughout Spiel’s lyrics, there are a lot of metaphors that have to do with light and dark spaces, probably because it’s essentially a record about change and time. I love ‘Gleam’ because it’s one of the more hopeful tracks, with the ‘gleam in the grime’ for me representing something/someone that is a positive force and worth chasing down or holding on to.
I say it is a heady onslaught of fuzzy guitars and drums with dissociated, distant vocals, sneering and louche that surfs over instrumentation that teeters along like an out of control freight train with a rampant drive. There is a quiet/loud ethic that rumbles like an approaching thunderstorm. The angular stop/start rhythms collect you on the way, sweep you up before dumping you at the end with a sudden stop. It’s cathartic pulse quickening stuff.
The lyrics match the hyperactive frenetic pace:
There’s the gleam
That I need
In the grime
Of the night
Directed by Sophie Black and shot by Pepe De Hoyos, the accompanying video is a monochrome blur of performances by the band, murky, dark with shards of blinding light – matching the sense of urgency and anxiety permeating the track.
The track is available through all the usual download and streaming sites.
Strang says of the forthcoming album:
We’re so proud of this record and poured everything we have into these songs. To have it come out at home and in Australia is honestly such a weight off, and having New West get on board for the global release early next year is a complete honour, too.
Amidst a busy solo career with releases via the legendary Flying Nun Records, Dead Oceans, and Ba Da Bing!, Kane Strang formed Office Dog at the end of 2021. After moving from his hometown of Dunedin (home to The Chills, The Clean, The Verlaines, etc) to Auckland, Kane sought after a more collaborative approach. He reached out to drummer Mitchell Innes, who played in his live band during his 2021 tour. Innes had just moved to Auckland as well, and the pair had their first practice at the back of a barbershop. Rassani Tolovaa, who played bass in Kane’s band from 2015-2018 was still residing in Dunedin, but with some gentle convincing, joined the others up north.
Feature Photograph: Violet Hirst