Lis­ten­ing Post

The Prophet Hens ★★★★

Sunday Star-Times - Escape - - FILM & MUSIC REVIEWS -

The Won­der­ful Shape of Back Door Keys (Fishrider Records) Amer­i­can music blog The Finest Kiss pro­claimed this Dunedin quar­tet the per­fect marriage of The Chills and Belle & Se­bas­tian and per­haps ‘‘bet­ter than both’’.

It’s a big call, but not with­out foun­da­tion. Cer­tainly, singer­gui­tarist Karl Bray of­ten chan­nels Martin Phillipps’ wide-eyed and wounded de­liv­ery, and there’s a mix of de­fi­ant ex­u­ber­ance and mi­nor key melan­cho­lia here that poured forth by the gal­lon from Glas­gow dur­ing the 1980s.

But with their fair­ground Ca­siotone, busy basslines, chim­ing gui­tar arpeg­gios, brisk drums and boy-girl har­monies, the clos­est touch­stone for me is splen­did Mel­bourne happy-sad jan­glers, Tw­erps.

Like that band, th­ese clair­voy­ant chooks stitch down­cast lyrics to sunny melodies, evok­ing a slightly mopey glee that’s a rare and spe­cific emo­tion to con­dense so ef­fec­tively into sound. This se­cond al­bum sports more am­bi­tious ar­range­ments than 2013 de­but Pop­u­lar Peo­ple Do Pop­u­lar Peo­ple, and or­gan­ist Pene­lope Esplin takes more lead vo­cals, sound­ing like a less posh Har­riet Wheeler from UK band, The Sun­days.

She’s at her best on the wry, swoop­ing Drunk In A Park by bas­sist Robin Ce­d­er­man, which sounds like a tale of ro­man­tic mis­ad­ven­ture in the Dunedin Botan­ics. And Oh Wait It’s Me Isn’t It is a song The Feel­ies wish they wrote, the gui­tars springy and finely-chopped, the melody bright as a new coin, the en­ergy lift­ing off like a ner­vous rocket. – Grant Smithies

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.