Fraser Ross and the 04s: Life is Magic, Where is my Rabbit? (Home Alone)

 |   |  1 min read

Life is Magic Here is My Rabbit
Fraser Ross and the 04s: Life is Magic, Where is my Rabbit? (Home Alone)

Although singer-songwriter Fraser Ross is sometimes described as “folk” that suggests something a little less than what he does across the 10 songs on this album with a small band. Certainly his intelligent songs seem written on guitar, but a yearning and taut piece like Salisbury Lane sounds as if at any moment it could spring into the epic grandeur of U2.

That it doesn't – because that would be too obvious as it has a Celtic heart – is testament to Ross' smarts, refined on stages in Scotland where he lived for a few years before returning to New Zealand, and specifically to Lyttelton where he now lives.

Elsewhere, as on the downbeat Davey Jones, he certainly cleaves to the folk tradition (if you understand that description to also include Mark Knopfler) but when the folk-framed pop-rock is given exotic guitar filagrees (the delightful Flamingo where the guitar part is pitched somewhere between the Caribbean and West Africa) you can understand why he is such a popular live attraction. He pulls you in with allusive stories and attractive musical settings (check Aladdin's Eyes).

In the Rain stretches more towards the widescreen but it never feels claustrophobic or oppressive.

There are further African touches on the elevating pop of Life is Magic Here is My Rabbit with township guitars and a gently pulsing beat, but John Jane right at the end is a gently polished jewel where secular and spiritual coexist in a quiet song which seems to take place in some distant time (or here now) with a warm colouring of guitar which could have come from John Martyn at his most restful.

Ross and his band the 04s – touring soon, dates below – impress everywhere here for their subtlety, spaciousness and understated strengths.


Fraser Ross and the 04s tour

Friday 17th August – San Fran, Wellington
Saturday 18th August – Lyttelton Records, Christchurch
Friday 24th August – St. Peters Hall, Paekakariki

Saturday 25th August – House Party, Whanganui

Sunday 26th August – Snails, Palmerston North
Friday 31st August – House Concert, Auckland
Saturday 1st September – Kumeu Arts Centre, Auckland
Sunday 2nd September – House Concert, Auckland
Monday 3rd September – The Bunker, Davenport
Saturday 15th September – Pidgeon Bay Hall, Pidgeon Bay
Friday 21st September – Fairfield House, Nelson
Saturday 29th September – Inch Bar, Dunedin

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Pajama Club: Pajama Club (Isaac)

Pajama Club: Pajama Club (Isaac)

From the deliberate domesticity of the band name/album title, this album which began as a knockabout home sessions between Neil Finn and his wife Sharon comes with some coy downplaying. I guess... > Read more

Charcoal Burners: Charcoal Burners (Charcoal Records)

Charcoal Burners: Charcoal Burners (Charcoal Records)

Charcoal Burners out of Dunedin are at core singers/multi-instrumentalists Andrew Spittle and Shane Gilchrist (both of whom have prior form) plus guests like pedal steel guitarist John Eugenes... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Kinks; Icon Series, The Kinks (Universal)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Kinks; Icon Series, The Kinks (Universal)

Some years ago I bought a 10-CD Japanese box set of the Kinks, all their albums on the Pye label. It was cheap at the time and while I didn't regret it (How could I? It included Something Else,... > Read more

THE BEST MUSIC OF ELSEWHERE IN 2018: The shape of things that came

THE BEST MUSIC OF ELSEWHERE IN 2018: The shape of things that came

Rather than wait a year to look back at the best albums to come out in 2018, Elsewhere though it would get a jump on the game and reflect back on the year to come and single out the best ever of... > Read more