107. The Brunettes – “Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks”

And thus we encounter our first album from across the Tasman. Most good New Zealand artists get quickly adopted as Aussies. It’s a crime that hasn’t happened to these indie popsters (yet).

the-brunettes-holding-hands-feeding-ducks-album-coverThese guys don’t need our help however. They were adopted by The Shins a few years back, have been dragged around the US on tours and signed up to the iconic Sub Pop label.

It is appropriate that they headed up north, as they are overt US-philes, enamoured with a very Gen X mix of cultural icons – Footloose, Grease, mafia accents and adult comic book collections.

The Sub Pop connection is more surprising, as this CD is about as far removed from grunge as possible. The album is pure bubble-gum pop, synth heavy with Spector-esque ambitions.

The guitar is jangly. String arrangements burst through almost at random. The girlie vocals are breathy and high. The dude opts for a cocktail hour spoken word approach.

It all comes together very effectively on most tracks. There are moments where the ‘kitchen sink’ approach leads to a saccharine overdose however. And the tempo isn’t maintained particularly consistently, so the mood gets dragged down by the under-rhythmed efforts.

File under: Frosted Kiwifruit anyone?

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