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Mestar album out today Shut the Squizwot Factories down

Mestar album out today Shut the Squizwot Factories down

Monday 2nd October, 2006 12:00PM
Yep, today is the day our fine friends Mëstar release their top notch new album “Shut the Squizwot Factories down... Vicki Anderson in the Christchurch Press gives the album four stars and writes “it sounds refreshingly good. Mëstar rule.” Cheese on Toast say about the album title track “Opening with a fuzzed wall of guitar which disappears with as much force as it opens, leaving a wonderful rolling bass-line which juxtaposes John White's sugary voice perfectly - almost thirty seconds later the wall of fuzzed guitar assaults us gloriously again - for as long again before another rolling rhythm section reprieve. And again. And again. And then you hit repeat and it all happens again”, also giving the track five starry ones.

The story of the album begins with a kind of fairytale:

Once upon a time, there lived a king, whose crown was his castle. Inside his crown, he lived - in his castle-for-a-crown.
In this kingdom lived many small Squizwots, whose magical orange essence brought the king extraordinary wealth. Factories were built to process the Squizwots, and many shiny gold coins came of it.
But even as smoke billowed from the factory chimneys, the king’s land was being devoured. From the very beginning, it was already too late. Too late to SHUT THE SQUIZWOT FACTORIES DOWN!

“Squizwots”? “Orange Essence”? “Gold Coins”?! What the hell are Mëstar on about?

Well, for starters, it would be safe to say that singer John White doesn’t really sing about the real world. He has his own universe in his head - a whole ecology in fact - with all the cultural, political and economic landscape worked out. The songs on “Shut the Squizwot Factories Down” are about this other world…if you listen closely, very closely, you will enter that world and hear stories about a places you never knew existed. This world is inhabited by characters like “Rosalie Starfish” and “Darling Deedah”: where there are battles to “Shut the Squizwot Factores Down” and heroes get nearly “Konked Out”.

For those who are new to the world of Mëstar, they have now been going for almost ten years now. But John and drummer Ian Wilson have known each other since birth – connected at a pre-verbal level – and bass player Stef Animal (real name) was a latecomer to the gang - meeting John at high school. The first five years of Mëstar’s existence were spent in hometown Dunedin where they released Mëstar (1998), Steamer (2000) and Porcupine (2002) on the Arc Label. Following this the band were dispersed around the globe. John traveled around and lived in Europe with Cloudboy, drew computer game graphics and recorded two solo albums (Balloon Adventure and Mogwash); Stef went to Holland and recorded a solo album; Ian lived in France.

But despite this dispersal the band always planned to reunite, and sometime in 2005, by coincidence, they all found themselves living in the same city – Wellington. Here a plan was formulated, John had a scruffy set of concise no fuss pop songs, some ideas about Squizwot factories, and the band wanted to get cracking. They decided to get them down on record quick, smart, fresh and in a no-frills manner. Fellow Dunedinite Dale Cotton, (HDU, Dimmer, the Fanatics and others), was enrolled for recording duties and before anyone knew it Mëstar had an album in the can - recorded and mostly mixed in six snappy Auckland summer days.

Shut the Squizwot Factories Down was always intended to be a loud album: no ‘small’ songs, no acoustic guitars. In fact, Mëstar have succeeded in creating an album of excellent pop racket and heaviness. John White excels at the simple perfectly formed song. The band have contributed a direct, economic and perfectly weighted rhythm section, buzzing guitars and chiming harmonies. Mëstar know exactly how they want to sound – which is exactly like Mëstar. Just like Mëstar in their own Squizwot world.

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