Self-described as a duo that plays “pop disguised as rock” Two Cartoons is comprised of Isaac MacFarlane and Brad Craig, who hail from the infamous Dunedin music scene with an impressive musical catalogue behind them. With an all-new single ready to kick-start their next project, revisiting the older work of Two Cartoons has illuminated just how much they have evolved in the last few years.
Since being the first Dunedin-based band to receive NZ On Air funding for their surfy, indie rock single, Better Coast, Two Cartoons have proved themselves to be determined and committed to their music. Tiny Terrors of 2012 showcased the peppy aspects of the band, reminding me a little of early Cut Off Your Hands, with my personal highlight being the Drums-esque gem, Dreams.
The release of Lost Boys Club in 2015 was an incredibly fun and succinct look into who Two Cartoons would become – an eclectic and vibrant duo with an affinity for sharp drum beats and groovy guitar riffs, all overlapped with endearingly offbeat vocals. The lo-fi and dissonant aspects of Happiness Is Trouble, their recent release, is a deviation from earlier purely pop tracks, and is more a celebration of punk rock.
As an eternal fan of The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Wavves and Best Coast, it’s uplifting to hear elements of these strikingly different yet collectively profound sounds permeate the bulk of Two Cartoons songs. These are the parts of Two Cartoons that shine for me, and are the parts that make them a necessary and unique part of New Zealand music.
Their newest single, Hospitality, deals with the mundanity of working full-time in the industry, and the repetitive cries of “hospitality!” just as the beat gets good is a harsh reminder of those nights when you’re out with friends before remembering you have work in the morning. This track revels in the duo’s ability to lace tracks with catchy riffs which is only complimented by the idiosyncrasy of the vocals – overall, Two Cartoons bring a much-needed shakeup to the music industry, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Check out Hospitality right here: