ALBUM REVIEW: Thee Rum Coves – Thee Rum Coves

Rating8a2199445233_10-2This self-titled debut finds Auckland-based Thee Rum Coves continuing the strong lineage of garage rock from ‘60s originators like The Sonics, through the UK beat and punk scenes, the power pop of Sunnyboys and onto its modern manifestation in bands such as The Hives and The Datsuns. Two members (singer/guitarist English Jake and bassist Jimmy Christmas) were founding members of New Zealand’s The D4 and with the production skills of legendary local producer Bob Frisbee the quintet have corralled their influences and experience into a tight, brisk and compact album; overflowing with hooks and contagious energy.

The economy of the songs and brevity of its 33 minutes are key aspects of the record’s success; the band clearly focusing on keep the arrangements simple and letting the riffs and vocal melodies shine. Even when they loosen the reins on the instrumental ‘Cosmos’ with its psychedelic washes of keys and guitars they resist the temptation to stretch it out to an extended jam. They leave the listener wanting more which is always the sign of a good band.

Three vocalists in the band add another twist to the sound of Thee Rum Coves, particularly Kendall Elise’s voice which disrupts the potential notion of a rock n roll boys club. She adds the shimmer and shake to the songs, the sass to their rock shapes and it works well. Lyrically they stick to the tried and true traditions of garage rock – love, lust, broken hearts and societal angst plus a bristling jab at the government, privacy and surveillance on ‘GCSB’.

Thee Rum Coves are no genre copyists; they’ve proven their ability to authentically capture the soul and essence of garage rock and cross pollinate it with other styles without losing sight of the importance of killer songs and riffs that smuggle their way into your short-term memory in broad daylight and refuse to leave.

Chris Familton

this review was first published on UnderTheRadar.co.nz 

ALBUM REVIEW: Street Chant | Means

written by Chris Familton

Street Chant finally see the Australian release of their debut album which came out in the homeland of New Zealand a year ago. Not that time dates this kind of music – jangling, propulsive slacker guitar pop – and this trio have talent in spades, captured perfectly on Means by producer/engineer Bob Frisbee.

This kind of post punk grunge bears a massive debt to their forebears like Nirvana, Sonic Youth and fellow Kiwis 3Ds but thankfully they rise above mere tribute and replication of those bands. On Means they have carved out their own sharp and concise brand of music that eschews complications like extended breakdowns and indulgent instrumentation. They keep it tight and simple with guitars, drums and bass intertwining intricate and infectious melodies with the shouted/sung vocals.

Scream Walk surges along with a playful, frantic strum until the guitar splinters off into a wonderfully shambolic solo that leaves you wanting more. The brilliantly titled Less Chat, More Sewing is reminiscent of NZ band Loves Ugly Children or Sydney’s Further with its dirtier, desperate sound while Stoned Again time-warps back to the golden age of New Zealand indie in the 80s with a nod to The Clean and fellow Flying Nun acts. It is the best song here because it feels the most effortless. It is lazy, completely catchy and ultimately its simplicity makes it feel like a classic in the making. Yaba Ara takes a darker turn with a winding, sinister groove and some clever time changes showing another angle to Street Chant’s sound.

This is an album that wholeheartedly deserves the wider exposure it is now getting. At 38 minutes it knows its limitations and works within them with great restraint yet no complacency. For a first release this is an impressive calling card.

this review was first published on The Drum Media