Dictaphone Blues: On the Down and In (Blah-Lah-Lah)

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Dictaphone Blues: 100 Suns Inside My Lungs
Dictaphone Blues: On the Down and In (Blah-Lah-Lah)

If this year's New Zealand Music Month of May is anything like the last -- and there's no reason to think it will be otherwise -- then somewhere in excess of 50 albums will be released by local artists to coincide with it.

Some will rise to the top by virtue of publicity more than merit, some will be lousy (that's not unpatriotic, just a fact Jack), some will be terrific but probably always on the margins of the media (try this and this) -- and a few will be excellent but may well be ignored by a media drowning in "review my album please" letters.

In the latter category are new albums by Elsewhere favourites The Puddle and Wild Bill Ricketts, both highly recommended.

Then there will be the rare ones: those which get publicity and really deserve it. This album by Edward Castelow is certainly in that zone. There have been a few interviews with him already, many noting he was previously in the pop-friendly Ruby Suns and the Brunettes.

Elsewhere has previously banged on about the many virtues of shameless verse-chorus contemporary pop (Mika, MGMT, Of Montreal) not to mention classic pop craftsmen like Buddy Holly, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, the Beatles and power-poppers like Big Star and the Dwight Twilley Band.

And Dictaphone Blues fits right in along that lineage with songs which are frequently powered by big, open-hearted chords and hung on memorable and massive choruses, and sometimes have that soaring ambition of Luke Steele (of The Sleepy Jackson and Empire Of the Sun).

Yep, this big and often slightly quirky guitar-based pop -- someone else can write the thesis on his oddball, funny and sometimes very pointed lyrics -- but there is a sunny, exuberant and uplifting quality about these late-summery sounds which reference classic Sixties pop (Beatles, Beach Boys harmonies) as much as including touches of glam pop, light psychedelia and Britpop.

So lotsa musical references for trainspotters, but mostly just a damn fine album that grabs immediately and doesn't let go. Just like the best pop music really, right?

 

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