Into the East: Fight from the Inside (intotheeast.co.nz/Aeroplane)

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Into the East: Old Man in a Fog
Into the East: Fight from the Inside (intotheeast.co.nz/Aeroplane)

This duo might come from Southland in New Zealand but they could just as surely have found a foothold in the American Midwest with songs like the catchy On the Run (a slightly reshaped rockabilly number which twists on the Tequila riff) or the ballads Black Hills Dakota and How Could Have Known.

But What I Have Done (subtitled On the Run Part II) would warm the cockles of your heart if you heard it in a Dublin bar where it would be right at home. And Planes and Trains is a sliver of classic folk-pop of no fixed cultural abode but you could hear it in a London bedsit or on a porch in backwoods America. 

Into the East are Graeme Woller and Liv McBride who recorded this debut album of impressive and understated originals in various local locations and managed to get it off the ground through the Pledge Me website and a number of other musicians whose discreet presence add colour.

That groundswell of public support has allowed them to present this beautifully packaged album (tip o' the hat to illustrator Hanna Isaac) which engages by virtue of the sensitivity in the songs, Woller's clear and confidently dark vocals and McBride's gracefully empathetic style. And they deliver lovely harmonies as if they were born to it.

The songs are also a chief strength and it would be a hard heart that wasn't moved by songs like the gentle Mullum about a love which exists beyond time, or the pantheistic sentiment behind the equally charming As Autumn Falls where, as they do frequently, prove the less-is-more principle.

That lively opener finds its counterpart in the closer Inside the Perfect Storm (the phrase "all things must pass" which opens the album reappears) which breaks down into a pleasingly disconcerting mash-up in the middle.

Into the East have apparently been together nine years, but as this album proves, the best dishes are slow cooked because the resulting flavours are more subtle.

This is a slow cooker full of subtle flavours. Very very tasty.

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