Undoubtedly one of the more enduring bands of the Dunedin Sound era, The Clean debuted in 1981 with the EP Boodle Boodle Boodle, which is simply an affirmation of kiwi audacity and ingenuity. Recorded with a budget of $700 in Chris Knox’s bedroom, this 5-track release contains some of the most thumping, boisterous “lo-fi” rock-based songs that I’ve ever heard.
The three tracks on the EP’s A side are all typical staples of the Flying Nun label’s sound, such as “Billy Two” which seems reminiscent of the more upbeat post-punk outfits of the era, yet with a stripped-down, hard rockin’ quality that simply doesn’t let up. One of the better known songs associated with the band, “Anything Could Happen”, features a few trademark slices of jangly guitar, coupled with terrific, pounding bass and drum work, as well as vocal delivery by lead singer David Kilgour that just personifies your average New Zealander’s indifference.
The real gem here though is the final song on the EP’s B side, “Point That Thing Somewhere Else”. This 5-minute tour de force contains a phenomenal, gliding lo-fi guitar riff which seems to bring in elements of Dick Dale’s classic surf sound. I can’t help but feel that this track’s soul belongs somewhere in the 1990s, but that also makes it easier to understand The Clean’s influence on later international acts – particularly Pavement and Yo La Tengo, both of which have cited as such.
Unfortunately the only copy of this EP is its original 1981 release, but all 5 tracks are included in the 2002 compilation Anthology, which pretty much covers most of the band’s history, not unlike The Chills’ 1986 Kaleidoscope World. If you want to hear where your favourite 90s alternative rock / lo-fi band may have got its sound, this would be a pretty good place to begin.