““I’m mute, I’m rimu, I’m loyal,” proclaims a coffee table in Secret Lives of Furniture, a song delivered from the point of view of a chattel in love with its owner, despite the beer stains and cigarette burns she’s inflicted down the years” (Sunday Star Times, 2015).
On debut album Bacterium, Look at Your Motor Go, Ha the Unclear weave absurdist narratives, self-reflections, tales of frustration and anxiety into tragicomic alt-pop ditties.
After starting out in the southern New Zealand city of Dunedin under various monikers (Baraka and the Finish Hims) songwriter Michael Cathro spent a period of time writing and performing in Ireland where much of the material for Bacterium, Look at Your Motor Go was conceived in a Cork City apartment. Cathro describes the time as “Simple. I befriended a kitten stuck on an adjacent balcony and fed it cheese by squeezing it into balls and launching it out the window to him. I named him ‘Ha the Unclear’”. Cathro relocated to Auckland in 2012 while remaining members Paul Cathro, Ben Sargeant and Theo Francis migrated northward to work on a hydroponic lettuce farm in the Bay of Plenty before the band based themselves fully in Auckland in 2015.
Recorded at Dunedin’s Albany Street Studios and produced by Oli Wilson (The Chills) Bacterium, Look at Your Motor Go was released in September 2014 with multiple singles seeing chart success on alternative and student radio stations. 'Secret Lives of Furniture' (in which a coffee table narrates its infatuation with its owner) was described by Entertainment Weekly as “fascinatingly odd” and appeared on BBC 6 Introducing after Fresh On the Net proclaimed it “absolutely bonkers”. Locally both the Sunday Star Times and The Listener gave Bacterium, Look at Your Motor Go 4 star reviews while Elsewhere.co.nz described it as “certainly unique and quite possibly bent genius”. In Australia the album has received similarly positive acclaim with Who the Hell declaring the group “a dark, sharp wit unlike any band you’ve heard before”. Mess+Noise said the music is “unexpected in all the right ways” while City and Sound called it “deep, funny and hugely original”.
“I’m mute, I’m rimu, I’m loyal,” proclaims a coffffee table in Secret Lives of Furniture, a song delivered from the point of view of a chattel in love with its owner, despite the beer stains and cigarette burns she’s inflicted down the years. And I am in love with this extraordinary album, released late last year but only now crossing my radar. Newzild accent as thick as a scaffolding plank, singer/guitarist Michael Cathro leads this Dunedin-born band in crafting pop music of deep eccentricity and high ambition. - Sunday Star Times
“Certainly unique and quite possibly bent genius” - Elsewhere.co.nz
“The song writing on this album is so strong and unique that many heavy topics are countered with an obscure brand of humour...It’s shit like Bacterium, Look at Your Motor Go that gets me out of bed in the morning” - City and Sound, Brisbane
“new, refreshing, and genuinely beautiful 4/5” - Vinyl Mag
"the band are unlike any band you’ve heard before. They weave hilarious tales of anxiety and frustration, give intimate emotion to inanimate objects and raise questions about religion and morality within almost a single breath." - Who the Hell
"I’m captivated in a way I normally reserve for bands I’ve been obsessed with for years. There’s this gentle variance on the word odd that has somehow made me appreciate them like they were created just for me…underneath it all is this gorgeousness that has (thrice) given me such an overwhelming feeling of peace that my eyeballs piss these clear eye piss tears.” - SYFFAL.com