Tama Waipara: Fill Up the Silence (tamawaipara)

 |   |  1 min read

Tama Waipara: Letter
Tama Waipara: Fill Up the Silence (tamawaipara)

In a recent interview with Elsewhere, Tama Waipara conceded some of the songs on this diverse but thoroughly consistent album were built up from rhythms, was flattered by the comparisons with Rufus Wainwright in some material and Talking Heads/Peter Gabriel in others.

If that sounds like an album of spot-the-references, that is not the case.

Here Waipara makes a very clear break with some aspects of his past, although what he has learned in theatre has clearly infiltrated songs -- like the eerie and urban Night Vision where he stalks -- while at the same time his background in Opotiki and within the Maori world is evident in the lovely closer Sunshine on the Water. Here all the production of previous songs is stripped away for an acoustic guitar ballad. It sounds about as backporch and downhome as you can imagine, and is a delightful song to close the album with.

And cleverly woven through these lyrics are discreet political and social messages, disarmingly beautiful melodies, Pasifika references, a kind of pan-world music overview and a classy pop song in The Hunter which could be at home in beat-driven Rio as in rural Rangiora (or on a Wainwright album where its soaring melodic line would fit right in).

Waipara has been quick to acknowledge the importance of producer Aaron Nevezie and certainly this sounds like something finely crafted, but not so much that it looses personality. It might not be as "unashamedly rugged" as he says, but you do take his point. It feels inhabited.

This is an album of the old style: distinctive and diverse songs woven into a tapestry which takes you on a journey and into unexpected places from Waipara. 

Feels like a whole new beginning from him.  And that is exciting.

Final point: This album is astutely structured into a clever and quietly compelling arc. Pity then that once again Waipara wraps his gifts in such a downbeat if not dull cover which does nothing to entice you in. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol 1 (Ode)

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol 1 (Ode)

It's a curious thing that in New Zealand where country and alt.country of various persuasions has become increasingly popular that an album like this slips past most people. It slipped past me... > Read more

Passenger: Runaway (usual digital outlets/Border)

Passenger: Runaway (usual digital outlets/Border)

British singer-songwriter Passenger (Mike Rosenberg) has not only etched himself in his homeland – an Ivor Novello Award for Let Her Go, the most performed song of 2014 there, which gave him... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Elvis Costello and the Imposters; Civic, Auckland. April 27, 2014

Elvis Costello and the Imposters; Civic, Auckland. April 27, 2014

Most artists understand their audience's requirement and expectation so include at least a smattering of their most famous or best loved songs. And so it was that Elvis Costello and his gifted... > Read more

Joy Division: Still

Joy Division: Still

Although somewhat dismissed by audiophiles for the uneven sound across the unreleased studio recordings, previously available tracks and live recordings (some very lo-fi), this Joy Division... > Read more