08 Aug 2009 // A review by Daniel Boom
I'm listening to "The Walls Of The Well" by Rebel Peasant.
Richard Singleton, the man behind this album has been involved as a drummer for some years in the well known NZ group called the Phoenix Foundation. Unfortunately I have little to say about them. Iíve spent my 20s listening mainly to old American and British rock and roots music and devoted little time to modern local stuff. I did see the movie Eagle Versus Shark (The Phoenix Foundation contributed to its soundtrack). I laughed at the movie but paid little attention to the soundtrack. I guess Iíd liken that to watching those old Hanna-Barbera cartoons (like Precious Pupp and Top Cat), enjoying the shows overall, but experiencing those orchestral sound effects only as a part of the general madness and not really tuning into them.
With slower tempo music like this, I get restless. I feel like I need more. I wonder if I should watch some silent comedies while listening to this album? Those comedies had pretty good piano soundtracks already though.
Or do I need to be in interesting company while listening to an album like this? Thatís bloody it! Thatís what I need. So, do you know any interesting people? I need help in an experiment where I put on "The Walls Of The Well" by Rebel Peasant, and some fascinating thing talks to me while I nod convincingly at key moments.
The album cover looks like a colourized American civil war photo portrait. "Rebel" Peasant. Johnny Reb. Everyman. Don't crowd him.
If you like interesting sounds, you've got a range of them on this album. A veritable sonic jungle. If you like interesting chord movement, maybe this album isnít for you. This music is too modern for that. Emotional appeal is superfluous in this day in age.
One of the weaker tracks is "Fledglings Keeper". Itís in a go-nowhere minor key. Sounds like dub shtick. How long has dub been around now? Do we ever feel like weíre kicking a dead horse, people? Good music doesn't need to suit your clothes, lifestyle, or sensibilities to be good. It needs to HIT A NERVE.
Thereís one track that I've repeatedly gone back to. Itís called "For Control Of The Mill". I like it. Itís not dressed to impress. It has a strong, deliberate beat. There's a distinctive melody, sounding almost East Asian (I mean something traditional - not your modern J-Pop, K-Pop, or C-Pop), but the sustained chords behind it enhance the melody.
Overall this is hardly the most mind altering album Iíve ever heard. But it should go down ok as background music at some kind of subdued Wellington gathering.