Upon first glance, it might be easy to dismiss Client Liaison, a Melbourne nostalgic pop project from Harvey Miller and Monte Morgan, as something of a joke. Concurrent with their measured rise through their local live circuit, the Australiana pastiche video for ‘End Of The Earth’ began to clock up a decent amount of views on YouTube. It’s an undeniably hilarious clip, complementing and compounding the song’s theme of half-worshipping, half-admonishing all things ‘Strayan. The cultural touchstones and gaudy production provided a slight distraction from the song’s slick pop production and Morgan’s considerable, MJ-inspired, vocal talent.
Up until recently, the ‘End Of The Earth’ clip was the only instance of recorded output from Client Liaison. Their reputation grew purely through their live show, most notably a primetime slot at this year’s Golden Plains festival replete with retro-executive stage props – a water cooler, ferns and a chunky fax machine.
Now we have the second officially released Client Liaison track with ‘Feeling’. A far cry from the humble chroma key effects of ‘End Of The Earth’, the new video features slick production and a cast of characters yearning to chase their own feelings. Throughout each scenario, Harvey and Monte are omnipresent watchers-on, ostensibly toning down their curious early-’90s aesthetic. But the hallmarks are still there.
The captivating, slow-motion cinematography, directed by Sherwin Akbarzadeh, is something of a ruse this time around, with subtle and not-so-subtle signifiers of Client Liaison’s signature embrace of sardonic opulence placed throughout the video.
Look closely at the shot of Harvey on the exercise bike, Monte with a sports towel across his neck, and you’ll notice a bevy of Ansett Australia regalia. It could be a case of rampant product placement, with the pristine cycling outfit, visor and windcheater subliminally planting the brand in the viewer’s mind, if it weren’t for the fact that Ansett folded over a decade ago. In the setting of the neglectful CEO’s office, the camera turns to Harvey pantomiming with a big ol’ brick of a cordless phone.
Just as the video for ‘End Of The Earth’ was a literal representation of Australia’s cultural cringe, ‘Feeling’ highlights the song’s sentimentality through each characters’ narrative. The ballerina, the businessman retreating into overtime, the mismatched dinner date, all find their freedom of expression, that elusive feeling of uninhibited joy, is signified by the booth of mirrors, where each character breaks it down in their own unique dance style.
Like Client Liaison themselves, ‘Feeling’ is only ironic if you want it to be. Underneath their executive veneer, there is a resounding and emotive pop heart.
“Like Client Liaison themselves, ‘Feeling’ is only ironic if you want it to be.”
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Article by Lachlan Kanoniuk for Stoli Australia