Ha the Unclear (an anagram for Nuclear Heath, a friend who only uses microwaves) are an Auckland based Dunedin band creating alt-pop songs full of odd narratives and philosophical mosaics.
Bacterium, Look at Your Motor Go was recorded between Dunedins Albany Street Studios and homes in Dunedin and Mt Eden. Left only with the stains of ritual, a taste for communion wine and existential crises after a catholic education Ha the Unclear is Michael Cathro, Paul Cathro, Ben Sargeant and Theo Francis.
"Singer-songwriter Michael Cathro who fronts this oddly-named band is a real one-off. His accent is unashamedly antipodean: He pronounces the Dunedin suburb "Core-sto-feen" as is the habit there, in Edinburgh it's the suburb I was born in and is "ki-store-fin". And his vocal limitations have a real charm as he alludes to melodies while the band deliver pure pop backdrops of "ba-daa-dah" while he cracks with emotion.
His is a very skewed worldview (singing about a coffee table would be odd enough from Robyn Hitchcock/Soft Boys but singing from the viewpoint of the coffee table . . ?) and songs entitled Growing Mould, Once We Were School Kids Drunk on Youth and Friendship, and Girls Who Smoke Strange Things hint at the breadth of his vision. He can be wistful (85 is sung from the perspective of an old woman -- Catholic? -- waiting for her husband to die and reflecting on the highs and lows of their life, shorn of sentiment) but also a kind of pragmatic cynic (Apostate, originally recorded by their previous band Brown). What makes all this so special is not just the interesting lyrics but how these songs are couched in clever, slightly familiar backdrops of pop guitars, sometimes sweet pop harmony vocals as a counterpoint to the blunt language, and a real integrity in his delivery. And the Kiwi vernacular. Certainly unique and quite possibly bent genius all at once" - Graham Reid (Elsewhere)
Artist: Ha The Unlear
Title:Bacterium, Look at Your Motor Go
Format: CD + Digital
1. Corstorphine 2. Growing Mould 3. Secret Lives of Furniture 4. Once We Were School Kids (Drunk On Youth and Friendship) 5. 85 6. Apostate 7. Kosmonavt 8. Party at Bevans 9. Girls Who Smoke Strange Things 10. Mannequins 11. Infatuated 12. Mortality (A Million Years Ago)