Kurt Shanks: Blood Line Heart (Plus1/Aeroplane)

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Kurt Shanks: These are the Days
Kurt Shanks: Blood Line Heart (Plus1/Aeroplane)

At a crucial point in the lovely Auckland-located ballad These Are The Days, the mood drops, hooking you with intimacy, and Kurt Shanks speak-sings, “No, I don't desire any sales pitch today . . .”.

It goes down like a wooden wonton, and unfortunately such lyrics – cliches like “mind over matter”, or “girl, we fit like a glove” in the otherwise lovely Honey Love – haul this otherwise promising debut back a few notches.

Shanks, former bassist with Stellar and who sometimes writes effortless melodies like Greg Johnson (15 Years, We Shall Have Another Day), here mostly has two operating systems: heartfelt and emotionally naked ballads (15 Years, the apologetic and self-questioning sentiments of Leaving); and bristling Bowie glam-rock (The Real You) or post-New Wave (the furiously angry Shoot to Kill, a real high point like the Only Ones on speed).

Most interesting future pointers are the closers: the intense Port Song and brooding Future to My History.

As a debut, there's much Shanks should feel pleased about – scouring guitar rock or alt.folk delivered with passion by compadres Andrew Thorne (guitars), Wayne Bell (drums), Mark Hughes (bass) and guests – but for outsiders this occasionally delivers unexpectedly wooden wontons.

Shoot to Kill though? A hit in a better world.

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