Formed in the early '90s as New Zealand's premier electro-pop band. Paul Casserly and Mark Tierney fuse electronics with strings, trumpets, and double bass that add finesse to the music and greater support to the weighty selection of female singers which to date have included: Stephanie Taueuihi, Fiona McDonald, Leza Corban, and then unknown Anika Moa. Their classy production is born out of Casserly's day job as a jingles man but the style is far from vapid muzak as their covered material name checks the Church, whose "Under the Milky Way" provided one of their biggest hits in 1994, and John Hiatt. Strawpeople draw from wide influence; the commercial awareness of Beats International, the artiness of St. Etienne, the depth of Blue Lines period Massive Attack. Their first album, Hemisphere, arrived in 1990, but it wasn't until their third in 1994 that they really got into gear. "Broadcast" stayed on the NZ chart for over a year. By 1996, Tierney had left to pursue other projects including A&R work with similar outfit NV. Vicarious was left principally to Casserly and Fiona McDonald, who in turn departed for a solo career. Remix album 100 Street Transistors was a precursor to No New Messages, which covered the Cars' "Drive" sung by Bic Runga, who had a hit with her own song of that title. A best-of followed at the end of 2000.
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