The Front Lawn is a multi-award-winning, much-loved New Zealand duo-turned-trio made up of Don McGlashan, Harry Sinclair and, eventually, Jennifer Ward-Lealand.
A 1980s variety act, The Front Lawn was part of an Aotearoa/New Zealand alternative tradition of duos that combine music, comedy, theatre and film. Their debut album Songs from The Front Lawn (1989) distilled McGlashan and Sinclair's theatrical stage show and their groundbreaking short films, Walkshort and The Lounge Bar, while also thrusting the band into the burgeoning New Zealand indie scene.
The album is a snapshot of '80s New Zealand, a turbulent, creative period for indie music, indie film and musical theatre, celebrating local identity in new ways.
Starting with a social and cultural background of New Zealand in the late 1970s, the book covers McGlashan and Sinclair's upbringing on Auckland's North Shore, early artistic influences and overseas experiences leading to the formation of the group.
Much attention is paid to the duo's philosophy, early performances, the process of recording the album – including The Front Lawn's collaboration with Wellington avant-garde/cabaret group Six Volts and the addition of Jennifer Ward-Lealand as the group's third member – and analysis of each of the album's 10 songs.
In parting, Matthew Bannister discusses the group's second and final album, More Songs from The Front Lawn, as well as the individual members' subsequent artistic careers.
Table of Contents:
2. The Front Lawn
3. The Album
4. The Aftermath
Series 33 1/3 Oceania