Coach: Family Tree (Aeroplane)

 |   |  1 min read

Coach: I Have Two Shadows
Coach: Family Tree (Aeroplane)

The thing about this Auckland band's often frustrating and ultimately dissatisfying debut album is that, even on repeat plays, you might be left with the impression there are two sides of the same brain in operation, but the better and more romantically inclined of them pulls the other equally promising wig-out rocking half back into line.

Guitarist/singer and predominant songwriter Abraham Kunin has a rich, restrained voice in many places (and a more than decent falsetto with actual strength), but as an album -- especially for a debut -- this feels unfocused, undernourished and often resolutely grounded in a couple of aspects of the Seventies.

Here there's a schism between slightly drifting and impressive prog (as on the six minute Can't Hide with a neat tempo change pushed by Jonathan Burgess' acoustic bass before seagull-cry guitar comes in) as opposed to a blues band desperate to escape into guitar solos (as on the lightly grunty but constrained Family Tree preceding it which reminds me of Space Farm from about '71 or some such).

When it comes to that gentle end of their emotional divide however, the ethereal sounds of the romantic, Pacific guitar chime'n'rolling tempo of I Have Two Shadows (with the reassuring line "it's not alright, but it's alright . . . with me") sounds like a destination reached and a profitable direction.

However when the slightly soulful Roulette Wheel which follows revolves around the repeated phrase "it's alright" you realise these lyrics work a limited palette. 

And while the instrumental Love Like Sleep at the end is slight -- and "slight" or "slightly" are words which ring like a refrain in my thinking about this -- it is rather lovely. However it appears before one of those increasingly tedious and pointless gaps in advance of a "bonus" track, here the spaghetti western-referencing Deadfoot which would have fitted in neatly earlier on. So you wonder why . . .

And Still Warm (something about being a child again, which sounds oh-so Seventies) has that tension/release of classic Gilmour/Floyd . . . and there's even a Still Warm Epilogue, a ripping guitars-in-space trip which is not that far shy of the 3.45 main track which spawns it.

So, which is it going to be . . .? 

At 39 minutes this feels like a debut EP with filler but there's just -- only just -- enough here to believe this band might come off more engrossing when they launch this album at Auckland's Wine Cellar on August 18 in advance of a national tour.

Frankly I would hope so. Because I grappled manfully with this for longer than many in recent years, hoping to like it more than I initially did, finding good things but -- as said -- ended up just frustrated by it.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Julian Temple Band: Quiet Earth (Oscillosonic/Yellow Eye)

Julian Temple Band: Quiet Earth (Oscillosonic/Yellow Eye)

Noticed how in action movies so few actors speak these days? They tend use an amplified whisper which has the effect of raising tension -- even when very little is happening. San... > Read more

Pernice Brothers: Live a Little (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Pernice Brothers: Live a Little (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

The vehicle for Joe Pernice, this band make slightly askew alt.pop and haven't been averse to pulling in orchestration when required. Where once Pernice made alt.country with his band the Scud... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Bob Geldof: Which one do you want?

Bob Geldof: Which one do you want?

It is sometimes easy to forget -- and you suspect at times he does too -- but Bob Geldof is actually a musician. He was in musician mode when he came to town in April 91 because he'd released an... > Read more

ALLIGATOR RECORDS 1971 - 2011: Four decades of brittle and often brilliant blues

ALLIGATOR RECORDS 1971 - 2011: Four decades of brittle and often brilliant blues

In his excellent book More Miles Than Money, subtitled “journeys through American music”, the expat London-based writer Garth Cartwright meets Bruce Iglauer who founded the Alligator... > Read more