Anthonie Tonnon: Leave Love Out of This (Slow Time/digital outlets)

 |   |  2 min read

When I'm Wrong
Anthonie Tonnon: Leave Love Out of This (Slow Time/digital outlets)

Despite more than a decade of recording, touring (locally and internationally) and a Silver Scroll nomination for songwriting, Whanganui-based Anthonie Tonnon – who first appeared as Tono and the Finance Company – seemed destined for that netherworld reserved for “critics' favourite”.

Yet his music has never been especially difficult or challenging.

Yes, along the way Tonnon addressed serious issues and offered social observation, but with the insight of Blam Blam Blam/Don McGlashan. And sometimes his lyrics were droll, astute responses to emotional dislocation.

Maybe that is difficult or challenging?

But with his album Leave Love Out of This – collecting a number of singles since his Taite Award-nominated Successor of 2015 – he might step beyond the established and enthusiastically supportive audience he has developed.

Aside from crafting attractively seductive melodies and delivering them in a manner which recalls yearning Rufus Wainwright or late-period David Bowie, Tonnon's gift is the astute juxtaposition of the personal and the political, where social issues revolve around people up against family, lovers, corporate entities or bureaucracy.

But, at heart, love is the pivot.

Tonnon – who writes of fractured desire with uncommon accomplishment – possesses a rare empathy and sees himself in roles where fragile love and social conscience often pay a high price: “I used to be able to take on the world alone, I used to pride myself on having no allegiance at all . . . now I'm wondering where my resources have gone . . . . now I wonder was I was right to fight with the stream” he sings on the self-doubting synth-pop of When I'm Wrong.

The chiming pop-rock opener Entertainment sounds in part a tribute to his former music mentor at the University of Otago, Dr Graeme Downes of the Verlaines (“you gave them everything when you were starting out, you gave them every idea you had . . . you gave me a shot and I'll always remember that”), the electro-pop of Two Free Hands is a lovely ballad and Mataura Paper Mill is another in his lineage of socially aware songs.

On Successor he considered the pace of progress (Railway Lines) and the Silver Scroll-nominated Water Underground was about irrigation, water reticulation and local politics in Canterbury.

Mataura Paper Mill is about the toxic waste from Tiwai Point dumped in smalltown Mataura.

Difficult and challenging?

Not in Tonnon's hands where it becomes a moving lament over low strings.

Alongside these are the mesmerising Old Images, the beautiful and dramatically ascending title track, the conversational Christopher which Wainwright would doubtless recognise, Lockheed Bomber, the ghost of General Douglas MacArthur haunting the uneasy Peacetime Orders . . .

With this sophisticated, pop-crafted and intelligent collection, Anthonie Tonnon – who has created his own aesthetic which never condescends to his audience – may finally reach those who didn't even know they were looking for him.


For more on Tono/Tonnon at Elsewhere see here.

Leave Love Out of This is available on July 16, the LP version with an expanded version of Entertainment. See his page at bandcamp here. Tickets for his concerts are here



Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music at Elsewhere articles index

Various: Troubadours Vol 1 (Exile)

Various: Troubadours Vol 1 (Exile)

My guess is that you'd have to look long and hard (possibly through secondhand bins) to find albums by Glen Moffatt, Al Hunter and Red McKelvie who, from the late Eighties to the mid-Nineties... > Read more

Starsailor:All the Plans (Virgin)

Starsailor:All the Plans (Virgin)

When this English four-piece emerged in 2000 the world was very different: it was the post-Oasis/post-Verve period (they had conspicuously failed to fulfill the promise) and the British rock press... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST MUSICIAN ADAM McGRATH OF THE EASTERN on what drives their new album, The Territory

GUEST MUSICIAN ADAM McGRATH OF THE EASTERN on what drives their new album, The Territory

It'd be good to know exactly where it's at. I mean the what it is, the what it was and what it shall be, are hard enough but the elusive “where it's at” creates all kinds of... > Read more

Lindsay Beaver: Tough as Love (Alligator/Southbound)

Lindsay Beaver: Tough as Love (Alligator/Southbound)

For her Alligator debut singer/drummer Lindsay Beaver lives up to the label's remit of tough blues, and the album title. She's a real blues belter in the manner of Etta James (but in front of... > Read more