[6 June 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Over the past year-plus, there’s been a lot of great reissues from New Zealand label Flying Nun. Who Killed Colonel Mustard, the lone release from Bored Games, may be the most obscure and most welcome. The band released this 1982 EP after they’d already disbanded, and the same year as the seminal Dunedin Double compilation. It features a teenage Shayne Carter, who would go on to play in the Straightjacket Fits and the DoubleHappys, as well as members of the Stones and the Chills. This small collection of the young band’s work is fiery and sneering with delight. The dried-out bass lines and lean percussion let guitars jangle out in all directions, and yet despite the thick beds of distortion, songs like “Bridesmaid” and the excellent “Don’t Get It” are taut, punky power-pop gems. Even “Happy Endings”, which builds with a more careful patience and Carter’s mysterious drawn-out vocals, has the same stripped-down power of these other songs. “Who cares about Marilyn Monroe?” Carter asks on the song, saying “For years now she’s been gone.” That subtle stab at tradition and order rides through Who Killed Colonel Mustard, and this defiant, catchy, and all-too-brief EP delivers its angst with tense fury. This may get lost among other early Flying Nun bands with more output, groups like Toy Love for instance, but this EP sounds now like an overlooked but defining early statement for the label.