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Shane Gilchrist continues his rummage through his album collection. Today he hears the echoes of Flying Nun drone-pop, enjoys some strong lyricism and bathes in freshly crafted alt-pop gems.
Mike McLeod, former frontman of Dunedin band the Alpha State (which put out a rather nice album, Lines, in 2008) shows once again he's no slouch for structure and melody, though this time he cloaks his songs in more psychedelic shades. Helped by a veritable who's who of Dunedin musicians, including David Kilgour, Robert Scott and Jay Clarkson, McLeod does delve into the angular, chiming, hypnotic drone-pop of the city's early '80s Flying Nun clan, but manages to avoid mimicry. In short, he has his own voice and isn't scared to balance a taste for dark country-esque areas (Too Late, Outta Here) with wiggy guitar histrionics (Worth Our While).
For those who like: Family Cactus, Great Unwashed.
The only thing wrong with this cunningly crafted release from Two Cartoons is the fact it's only five songs long. Dunedin duo Brad Craig and Isaac Macfarlane prove that good tunes often require little more than the instruments with which they were initially created (presumably, in their case, guitar and drums). Where some would be tempted to overplay their instruments, this pair opt for quick frills and fills in an attempt to maintain a sense of space - a delightful, reverb-filled space into which drip the melodies and harmonies of choirboys on a bender.
For those who like: Port O'Brien, The Thrills.
Chalmers-based Bill Morris' debut nine-track album channels pastoral rock, gentle folk and electric guitar-edged alt-pop into an energetic, eclectic brew-up that offers both focus and freedom. Morris clearly takes pride in his lyricism, which ranges from detailed reflections Last Year's Starlings to socio-historic commentary Mud, Volcano, Shenandoah and, though seemingly confident in his own compositions, he is still willing to embrace outside forces (in the form of more than a few Dunedin musicians, ranging from Robert Scott to members of The Chaps and beyond).
For those who like: The Triffids, The Go Betweens.
Dunedin songwriter Matt Joe Gow leads his Melbourne-based Dead Leaves on a musical journey that is both celebratory and complex. Given free rein on Cities On the Sea, guitarist Andrew Pollock throws forth swirls of electrically charged texture as Joe Gow adopts a baritone croon that, despite the seemingly relaxed delivery, acts as a melodic tractor beam amid the various angular (and inventive) rhythms at play, from the cunningly crafted chorus of opener If The Shoe Fits to a dark rendition of the Talking Heads hit This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody).
For those who like: Bryan Ferry meets The Smiths.