Quintessential New Zealand rock -- that is, jangly & romantic folk rock that seems vaguely British... but not. Mostly male vocals but also some gorgeous male/female harmonies. Guitars, some piano, some violin. Tracks 3 and 11 are instrumentals. Seventh album and the first in a decade from this Christchurch, NZ quartet. Happy, poignant, and bittersweet. They formed in 1982 as a spinoff from The Clean. This LP includes two tracks featuring violin from Alastair Galbraith, a New Zealand painter and experimental musician (who also guested on their first two LPs and has worked with many other artists & bands including Plagal Grind). FCC clean. All really great, but some songs are a slowly acquired taste. Start with 2, 4, 6, 7.
1. Slow, jangly lullaby. No percussion. Male/female harmony vocals. Starts with some spoken studio banter. Ends on fading suspended chord.
==> 2. Driving NZ rock. Gentle but determined and flowing. “I know how I’ll get there. I’ll have to use my imagination.” Starts with snare/kick. Ends with fast-looped guitar strum, then off-tempo (too fast) percussion. Then a few secs of silence.
3. Mid-slow instrumental. Sounds like a slowed-down reprise of previous song. Starts with solo guitar strumming. Long, slow fade.
==> 4. Mid-tempo happy/bittersweet rocker. Beautiful “ooh-ooh” harmonies. Starts with jangly guitar. Slows and fades to silence.
5. Uptempo, high-energy jangly rock. Second half of song is slower and nostalgic. Starts with full band. Slows and fades to silence.
==> 6. Downtempo, mopey ballad about disgust with the world. “I just want to see the world through different eyes.” Cool violin by Alastair Galbraith. Gets sparse and quiet at end. A few secs of silence.
==> 7. Mid-tempo and perky. Romantic and dreamy. Male/female harmony vocals. Lovely plucked violin. Starts with full band. Slows and fades.
8. Mid-tempo rocker with a very ’80s melody. Starts with full band.
9. Mid-slow ballad. Female vocals. A bit maudlin, perhaps. Starts with quietly strummed guitar. Ends by slowing and then fading on a suspended chord.
10. Mid-tempo, bittersweet rocker. Chorus has male/female harmonies. Starts as a mid-slow ballad with solo guitar. Ends with long, slow fade, then a couple of secs of silence.
11. Mid-slow, sparse jangle pop instrumental. Fades up from silence. Quiets and slows before fade at end.
12. Uptempo, happy jangle rock with Galbraith’s weird violin. Silly lyrics about “the birds and the bees.” Ends with feedback, then sudden silence... and then 30 secs of silence.
13. Psych/folk lullaby. Processed vocals and backwards guitars. Fades up from silence. Slow fade.