December/January 2024

by Richard Thorne

Fresh Talent: Allophones

by Richard Thorne

Fresh Talent: Allophones

Ben and Barney Connolly, along with Tane Cotton hail “pretty much from Ōtepoti”. Devolving from various prior bands with names like Blisspoint, Shrimp!, Carmina and The Rhododendrons (“it’s complicated”) the trio are now Allophones.

In a tale as old as time, as they themselves describe it, Ben who plays drums, guitar, bass and sings, and Barney (all of the above plus accordion and piano) got offered a good gig. Ben and Tane (yet another multi-instrumentalist), were in the same year at school.

“And so we practised every night for a week before the gig and had an amazing time. The gig went well, and that was a year and a half ago,” Barney explains.

It’s Barney who was studying linguistics at college and thought ‘allophones’ (a term from said discipline) was a nice musical-sounding word and it was agreed they would choose that to represent their new band. Listeners are advised to ‘expect the purity of pop music lacerated with high-end energy and tastefully applied distortion’.

Having pulled off a couple of substantial tours during 2023, Casings & Threats is the name of their most recent single release.

“We recorded it with Nick Roughan in an awesome studio surrounded by medical machinery that he has been working on. It wasn’t produced by anyone except ourselves. Tex Houston mastered it. It’s really nice to have the support of these talented humans.”

“Because when Tane played it for us, it felt like the most genuine and raw expression of human pain,” Ben explains of its selection as a single. “It’s not an ‘Oh pity me’ song. It’s about overcoming what trauma does to you. We hope that anyone who can unfortunately relate can find some catharsis in it.”

Violinist Motoko Kikkawa performs and records with the band, amplifying their “ominous squall of heavy psych-tinted guitars and unsentimental reflections on our lumbering flesh prisons…” The skeletal Mr Bones who stars in their December 2022 debut single/video Human, and features in the May-released track Eyeball, looks to be a regular fourth band member. Quite likely that’s him behind the cardboard box television helmet in the Connolly siblings-directed black & white video for Casings & Threats too. The Allophones are a creative lot, expect to be entertained.