Graham Reid | | 1 min read
The debut by this New Zealand singer-songwriter, Symmetry, found immediate favour at Elsewhere a couple of years ago, but this album is big step up in maturity of songwriting and musicality.
There's a depth and muscularity to these songs (the urgent tone of Life Boat, the sharp folk-pop of 30 Seconds, the holy stillness of Soldier) which is immediately affecting and if on the previous album his voice sounded a bit light when it could have bitten harder that certainly isn't a comment you'd make this time around.
He's also got sense of humour: 2 Feet Tall about a child's eye view of the beauties and mysteries of the world contains the refrain "I might be your baby, but I'm the one you all bow down to".
The lovely escapism of the title song written on holiday in Samoa now takes on a very different meaning when he sings "Lalomanu's looking so clear, others might not be here, years from now they will disappear". The tsunami which wiped out that beautiful beach and its nearby inhabitants skews the image into a new perspective, yet the power of his sentiment (a visitor who just takes home the sun and sand of his fellow man) actually now has greater resonance.
The sleepness night on Anxiety comes with a deliberately plodding bass and percussion part (Daniel Irvine and Dean Tinning) which has an oddly disconcerting quality.
Derricutt once again mostly celebrates the joys of life and love, and the natural world informs many of these songs (Kowhai Tree, lakes and beaches). It's telling that as on the previous album he notes where these songs were written: and they are beaches and lakesides mostly.
Good supporting players, understated arrangements and a nicely packaged album as well with an insert booklet of lyrics. Check this guy out.