The Phoenix Foundation: Happy Ending (Flying Nun) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

 |   |  1 min read

The Phoenix Foundation: Pure Joy
The Phoenix Foundation: Happy Ending (Flying Nun) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

In a cover so cheap-looking and unpromising that it reminds me of an intermediate school kid's doodle comes one of the best New Zealand albums of the year.

Let's hope that godawful "artwork" doesn't put off any prospective buyers because if it does they will be missing one of the most nuanced, textured, seductively melodic and vibrant albums that Flying Nun has released in a very long time.

And the Nun connection is relevant here because the opener reminds me of nothing less than a lost Verlaines track, all urgent strumming and tight vocals, played as if the band's life depended on it. But also lifted by whooping background vocals.

It is a well-chosen opener as it emerges out of a dreamy cloud of tinkling then takes off through the stratosphere.

It barely suggests the beauties which follow however and which also invoke other melody-strong Nun bands like Sneaky Feelings.

There is a wistful quality at work (Slumber Party, A Day in the Sun, the closer Sugar), evocative soundscapes (Gandalf), light and ethereal pop (Irrelevant Noise), and chipper trad-country music (No One Will Believe Me When I'm Dead).

Pure Joy is exactly that and you can almost feel the warm breeze in your sails as the sunlight flashes off the waves (until . . .), and the instrumental Omerta sounds like it has borrowed something from those early electronica albums like Oxygene. But in a good way.

Lyrically they are quirky (sometimes straining a little too much for effect) or smile-inducingly simple.

But whatever way you cut it this diverse, delightful album is headed straight into those "best of" lists you are reading right now.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Neil Finn: Dizzy Heights (Lester)

Neil Finn: Dizzy Heights (Lester)

Last week a friend and I were discussing artists with long careers who simply cannot acknowldege their best years are well behind them. While there are exceptions of course, the vast majority... > Read more

Mahoney Harris: We Didn't Feel Alone (mahoneyharris)

Mahoney Harris: We Didn't Feel Alone (mahoneyharris)

At the midpoint of this debut album by Auckland singer-songwriter Mahoney Harris there is a lyric that can stop you in your tracks: just when you think you've got her pegged there is Miss You.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SUSAN AGLUKARK INTERVIEWED (1995): Inuit into the mainstream

SUSAN AGLUKARK INTERVIEWED (1995): Inuit into the mainstream

It is 1995 and Susan Aglukark is speculating on how she’d like to see herself in five years; married certainly (she and her boyfriend have talked about it), a lot of children, learn to... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Mark Lanegan

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Mark Lanegan

Mark Lanegan has, as they say, been putting himself about a bit. Formerly of Screaming Trees who rode the grunge wave out of Seattle, he joined Queens of the Stone Age in 2000 when the Trees broke... > Read more