Graham Reid | | <1 min read
Among the many unaddressed issues about the effectiveness of New Zealand Music Month is that of so many albums being released: they cancel each other out and some just won't get the attention they deserve.
I sincerly hope that out of the mountain released -- around 50 albums in, or in time for, NZMM, which is just self-defeating -- that this languid, melancholy and lowkey outing doesn't slide to the bottom.
Singer-songerwriter Abel recorded these 13 fully-formed songs in just two days with a band which includes members of Goldenhorse (Geoff Maddock, Ben King), Pluto (Milan Borich, Mike Hall) and Goodshirt (Gareth Thomas), plus guest appearances by American singer-songwriter Jolie Holland (on two songs) and Anika Moa on the te reo/English Pin of Love/Ka pinea koe.
Abel is a refined writer whose lyrics have a bone-bare quality (Deborah consists of a couple of dozen words, but they say it all) and the alt.country/backwoods balladry quality of acoustic guitars, violin and double bass -- not to mention musical saw -- lends itself to the elemental words which don't shy away from disconcerting themes (Cinders of the Sun, Heart of Misery and Frail among them).
Yet this doesn't feel like a dark journey, more the sound of someone writing and singing from a place where there is no guile, just hard truth and clear eyes.
Put aside a few dozen recently released local albums for a while and check this one out. It is quite special.