The Shifting Sands: The Shifting Sands (Fishrider)

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The Shifting Sands: Whatever We Can
The Shifting Sands: The Shifting Sands (Fishrider)

While no one in their right mind would have ever argued the idea of a "Flying Nun/Dunedin sound" other than a few lazy writers back in the day, you'd have to say after even just one quick listen to this album by singer-guitarist Michael McLeod that it has a sort of . .  hmmm . . . Flying Nun sound about it.

So let's flip all the cards and tell you McLeod has worked in Dunedin with the Clean's David Kilgour, Robert Scott (Clean, Bats), Robbie Yeats (Verlaines, Dead C), Lesley Paris (Look Blue Go Purple) . . .

You get the picture. And maybe even the sound of this discreetly melodic, vaguely chiming pop-rock whch has that oceanic swell familiar from the Chills and the Clean . . . and so it manages to enchant through its own shimmering surfaces as much as by alluding to all that has preceded it in Dunedin where this was recorded by McLeod and Kilgour -- and which includes contributions for all those usual suspects (and more).

However rather than simply ride the coat-tails of his antecedents, McLeod extends the contract with utterly delightful songs like the ethereal and transporting Feel, through the inclusion of sitar in two songs at the midpoint of this 10 track collection (played by Robin Murphy, going for drone or interesting little melodic figures to elevate the chiming mood), and the gently mesmerising songs like the dreamy Whenever We Can, the windblown atmosphere of Worth Our While or folk-pop of the quietly wonderful Outta Here where "seconds kill like minutes".

Just as no one would say "Flying Nun/Dunedin sound" about this without feeling they are stating the obvious -- and you surely won't find many who would claim The Shifting Sand to be unique -- the band name is interesting.

Sands shift.

Anyone there on the first go-round of Flying Nun might happily observe of this understated, no less enjoyable, but minor league album, "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives".

Deja-vu . . . and a new view.

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