Ducks swim oblivious around a slime-brown storm-water drain; cell phone towers dwarf the suburban culs-de-sac of West Auckland; a young man sits alone in a strobe-lit lounge, calmly smoking a bong. In the video for ‘Sugar Glider’, directed by David Becham and premiering today on VICE New Zealand, Milk takes a patient and uncritical look at some of the landmarks replicated infinitely within Auckland’s isthmus but not typically considered worthy of the spotlight.
The fourth single-of-sorts from an imminent self-titled second album, 'Sugar Glider' is a kinetic and undulating track that splits the sonic difference between peak At The Drive In and The Mint Chicks’ legendary early EPs. Speaking to VICE, though, Milk auteur Reuben Winter revealed that the song almost didn’t make the cut. “It was one of the songs that I thought didn’t quite sit on the album, but it was one that people were most hyped about,” he explained, acknowledging that despite his reservations, “the most common response from everyone was like, “That’s a fucking banger.””
Given the song’s mostly-instrumental nature—including contributions from Yokozuna’s Jy Lee on saxophone and the late Adison Whitley, a close friend and frequent collaborator, on guitar—it’s understandable that the video takes a similarly non-narrative approach. Comprising a cobbled sequence of jerkily panned and ominously zoomed shots of West and Central Auckland, it works to subtly build a case for the unsettling half-beauty of the city’s grimier side.
"Every now and then me and David will just drive out to West Auckland—find spots, listen to tunes—and even when you go to these beautiful nature spots, there’s like some really ugly shit out there. Then coming back into the city you realise how yuck and kind of seedy a lot of downtown is...the video just really turned out as like a really good reflection of what we’d get up to on a Saturday.”
Milk’s self-titled second album comes out Monday January 28 via Prison Tapes, with an album release show featuring Milk, BEING., Cindy, and Ary and The Jansens at the Grey Lynn Library Hall on Saturday, February 2.