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Avy of Sharkboy – Photo courtesy of Avy
The albums Matinee and especially The Valentine Tapes are buried treasures from ’90s U.K.alternative rock/Americana band Sharkboy. Led by the mysterious and beguiling Avy, the band created atmospheric, cinematic, retro-vibed gems that have been obscured by the loud and crowded musical landscape and grinding gears of time.
Sharkboy disappeared into the ether after those two releases, but now, over 20 years later, Avy returns with a mesmerizing new song, “Spell”, and its accompanying storytelling video. The Big Takeover is highly delighted to host the premiere of Avy’s creative work in both aural and visual form.
small sliver of wood used in thatching; splinter of wood in the skin. cf Norwegian spjelke (splinter), Swedish splitter (splinter).
“Spell” music video
A wealthy wolf and his adoring white cat love each other so much they dream they could live as wolf and wife. One full-moon night their wish is granted – but Nature ensures not all goes to plan. ‘Spell’ is an atmospheric stop-motion story of love.
Inspired by the classic Aesop fable Venus & The Cat, Avy’s little film contains elements of Alice Through The Looking Glass. It’s a tale of nature over nurture, the power of possessing the freedom to roam and the call of home. It journeys quickly along an unexpected and delightful path. Domesticity, decisions about freedom versus commitment, the power of love – all are woven into the surface whimsy of the narrative.
Created by songwriter and fabulist Avy, it’s set to a new track of the same name by her band Sharkboy. The lyrics of “Spell” describe the soul bonds of two people over many lifetimes. The back and forth in time is illustrated in the tenses of present, future and past contained in a quiet mountain song.
“Spell’ has elements of country and folk stemming from Avy’s origins in the North-West of England, where the influence of old English ballads, Irish tales and Celtic romanticism leave their echoes in the popular and traditional music of the region.
Avy says, “IIn the North West ‘spell’ is a Norse word for splinter. My mother would get spells out with a needle. Originally the track was called ‘Spell In Your Hand’. It’s like when someone gets completely under your skin. It can stay but not permanently. In my minds eye I see a carpenter building a ship’s masthead. There are a lot of hidden layers in the title.”
The lyrical, acoustic nuances of the song reach out to the listener like a lost and found love – or a boatman’s call across the void.
Avy and Sharkboy
By making short films and producing personal artwork Avy supports the lyrical content of her writing, encompassing ballads, chanson, Americana and alt-rock. Her work continues to defy a single genre and she has the same focus that set Sharkboy on their path over two decades ago.
Avy first came to press attention with Sharkboy and signed to Nude Records, one-time home of Suede. After art-directing their vinyl cover shoots and embedding cinematic narratives within their music, she dissolved the band and disappeared from public life for over 20 years.
She has worked with Robin Guthrie, David Baker and Bernard Butler, played bass in punk band The Fuck You Planet Earth and created a side project Rockhard Garçons.
Avy is now back producing new material with Sharkboy and emerging with a new entity, Sign Of The Sharkboy that encompasses her visual and creative production.
The personal artwork creates a 360-degrees experience, adding layers to the lyrical content of her Americana, chanson and alt rock music. Avy states, “‘I never wanted to just make music alone. I found it frustrating when I could see all the visual clues in the words sort of entrapped.”
She continues, “In recent times a host of animated characters including animals and birds in everyday life have been making their way into my visual art and animated work – black crows, robins, foxes, dogs. I now have complete control of what goes out into the world and that feels really good.”
““Spell” the movie is kind of ‘home-made on purpose’. People seem to like it. I wanted it to be rough. You can see where the models have lived the story and got their knocks and bruises. The video took nearly 3 months to make over the long hot summer…,” Avy concludes.
The video for “Spell” is being entered for Annecy International Animation Festival 2019 in France.
The song “Spell” is slated to officially release on December 17th. The single launch show is on the 15th December in Worthing on the South Coast UK. Event details can be found at Facebook
The single launch show will take the form of an audio-visual installation at vintage record store Train Of Thought / Control Gallery. There will be white screens, projected animations and paper-cut candles at the launch party, along with Sharkboy vinyl and a free festive drink. Mr Wolf and The White Cat are on the guest list but we will have to wait and see if they appear…
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