Danny McCrum Band: Awake and Restless (McCrum)

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Danny McCrum Band: What's Wrong With Trying To Live Right?
Danny McCrum Band: Awake and Restless (McCrum)

Here's a guess, this smart pop-rock album from an Auckland singer-songwriter and his tight, crackling band won't get much attention.

The reason?

There's not been much sympathy or space for well-crafted adult pop-rock in New Zealand, the Finns and Dave Dobbyn aside.

Critics generally prefer something with a little more quirkiness and edge, and straight-ahead bands like this one don't fit the profile. Oddly enough -- or maybe it isn't so odd -- the public tends to embrace such artists, although usually of the imported variety. So McCrum might just not even fall between the cracks in the local media, he might just be ignored.

Personally I find it hard to fault the delivery and snappiness of the band on these 11 tracks -- although the running order doesn't flatter them at all: Stuck in Traffic up second might have been shoved towards the end and What's Wrong With Trying to Live Right? hauled up a little.

But that's a minor quibble and this well-crafted adult pop-rock deserves a hearing outside of a small circle.

McCrum and band play a straight bat to what they do -- short and sharp songs played with little extravagence aside from some excellent guitar work by McCrum and Ben Jurisich.

McCrum sounds little like a less frantic Jimmy Barnes at times, and he has a lived in voice which should have wide appeal. It certainly did when he and Jurisich opened in an acoustic set before Joan Armatrading and Bryan Ferry. That was a mature crowd and they are notoriously difficult to please because they really just want the headliners -- but they offered up a genuinely appreciative response.

So if any of your friends were there and ask who those two young guys were up first you can tell them. And tell them about this album.

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