Graham Reid | | 2 min read
Shani.O's profile appears at the end of these brief but pointed reviews . ..
Deluxe Project: Deluxe Project
New Zealand recording artist and producer Vince Harder has teamed up with Anthony McCarthy to form this brand new r'n'b/pop duo Deluxe Project. Their debut self-titled EP stands at six tracks strong, and showcases an affinity for catchy hooks and tasteful r'n'b harmony with pop influence subtly ebbing and flowing in each track. The detailed vocal arrangements are a true highlight, as Harder and McCarthy blend seamlessly in lush harmony. On & On is a strong (slightly more pop influenced) single, whilst stand-out closing track Rona brings forth a te reo bridge and a beautiful melody that is sure to have you hitting repeat when it’s over.
ABRA’s Princess EP has pulled off something many strive for but often find difficult to achieve - a quality recorded sound in lo-fi character, keeping things raw and minimalist but still expertly produced. Between an array of sparse percussion samples and synth bass, ABRA’s unique vocal tone carries the melody and draws listeners in with its genius simplicity. Infectious choruses in tracks Pull Up and Thinking Of U make the melodies memorable and catchy despite the almost non-existent harmony. Drawing on some clear 90’s influence, ABRA brings to the table a fresh EP in which she has carves out a place in the densely populated world of up and coming progressive r&b/hip hop artists through her unique sound and aesthetic.
Oyawa: Won't Even Try To Scale It
Waiheke-Island based newcomers Oyawa recently released this debut which introduces the band’s personal take on NZ Alt Rock. Heavy guitar distortion drives with thunderous snare drums and strong lead vocals from front woman Nikki Ngatai -- particularly in the highlight Don't Wait For Me. A number of the tracks on this feature an unashamedly New Zealand accent in either the lead vocals or backing, which although it does make the record sound more Kiwi or close to home, can come across a tad jarring as we all know the Kiwi accent is not always the most forgiving when it comes to sung vowels.
Shani.O is a musician/songwriter/performer, currently completing a BMus in Popular Music at the University of Auckland and graduating at the end of the year.