21 Aug 2018

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Lawrence Arabia - Album Review: Absolute Truth

28 Jun 2016 // A review by Petros

The name Lawrence Arabia is a New Zealand institution, at least for me. Itís one of the ten names that come to mind when someone says New Zealand music, though his music itself, unlike his name, has always sat at the fringes of my periphery.

I first heard of Lawrence Arabia when the New Zealand music stigma was strong in my mind and the mind of my peers. Being of a certain societal group that despised all things popular, the beginning was the wrong time for Lawrence Arabia to be introduced to me.

Alas, I have changed, and so have the times, so much so that there is a strong desire to escape the times through the espousal of the retro, for that sense of nostalgia and those memories of simpler times that such things bring.

Lawrence Arabiaís Absolute Truth is about as retro as it comes in this modern era. As if composed as love songs for a long lost generation. A forgotten time when music had substance, and it was more than a vehicle for the mediaís next top model with a face made for lip-syncing. A time when words were sung, not shouted, composed with reverence, and there was meaning, not a list of catchphrases.

The album is weird and wonderful, a compilation of frivolously upbeat sways and quirky orchestrations. Itís almost like the Bee Gees, except falsetto is used here as an adornment, not the prevalent mode. But the Bee Gees reference is a cope out, an artefact of my mind convincing itself that Absolute Truth is a product of my parentsí era. There is no point comparing it to something youíve heard, because there really isnít anything quite like Lawrence Arabia. 

Maybe itís not music that this generation will understand. You can drink and dance to it (a requirement for todayís pop) but the dance is a jaunty waltz or a saucy tango, and the drink an aged whiskey.

You can find a digital copy of Absolute Truth on the Lawrence Arabia Bandcamp Page, but considering the retro tone of this album, Iíd suggest picking up a copy on vinyl (also available on the Bandcamp).

About Lawrence Arabia

Lawrence Arabia is the pseudonym of James Milne. From 2002 to 2005, he was a multi-instrumentalist in Auckland pop band The Brunettes. He continued to write songs during this period and in 2006, Lil Chief Records helped him to release his first two solo efforts - one by his group The Reduction Agents (The Dance Reduction Agents) and the eponymous Lawrence Arabia debut. Songs and work from these albums were nominated for a number of BNet awards and the APRA Silver Scroll.

From this point onwards, the ever-resourceful Milne decided to go his own way, organising his own release of Lawrence Arabia's second release, Chant Darling. Since then, varying line-ups of the Lawrence Arabia band have toured the UK and Europe with The Concretes, Feist, The Ruby Suns, Liam Finn and Okkervil River.

Milne also plays in the local super-group, BARB, with Liam Finn, Connan Mockasin, Eliza-Jane Barnes and Seamus Ebbs. He also continues to do occasional performances in Lil Chief's resident Paul McCartney tribute band, The Disciples of Macca. Lawrence Arabia has gone on to be a hugely popular musical vehicle.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Lawrence Arabia


Absolute Truth
Year: 2016
Type: Album
The Sparrow
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Unlimited Buffet
Year: 2011
Type: Album
Chant Darling
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Lawrence Arabia
Year: 2008
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Petros

Aaron Carpenter and The Revelators - EP Review: Roll with the Punches
20 Aug 2018 // by Petros
The last bastions of real music in a world that celebrates mediocrity are the minnows swimming against the current of the mainstream.   What is the mainstream nowadays?
Brendan Pyper - Single Review: No Strings Attached
07 Jul 2018 // by Petros
I think we have this decadeís Daniel Bedingfield on our hands. Diversifying his portfolio, The Latest Falloutís Brendan Pyper has just released his debut single, in the process seemingly leaving his Pop Rock ways behind.
Tess Goodwin - Single Review: Grace
07 Jul 2018 // by Petros
In this world of instant gratification, something can be said about a song that can make you feel, even if that feeling is longing. Longing, usually a feeling with negative connotations, is something you miss out on when you can binge watch an entire show or listen to a musicianís whole discography.
Emily Fairlight - Album Review: Mother of Gloom
03 May 2018 // by Petros
Autumn at dusk. Sitting in a bay window, knees to chin, wrapped in sweatered arms.
Tempist Fujit - Single Review: Daynes Song
26 Apr 2018 // by Petros
'Tis a two-headed beast, Daynes Song, the new single from Northlandís Tempist Fujit. On one side itís jazzy funky 90's Rock riffs, bass licks, and song structure (with complimentary Santana-like solo), the other side modern Rap riffing.
Robby Thorne - Album Review: The White Thorn Track
13 Mar 2018 // by Petros
There is a time and place for genre pedantry. I get that categorising artists by genre is a way of qualifying if you will like music before trying it.
David Edwards - Album Review: Gleefully Unknown 1997 - 2005
25 Feb 2018 // by Petros
There is the weird and wonderful. And then there is the weird.
Will Saunders - Album Review: Covers Four
27 Jan 2018 // by Petros
Covers Four, formally and sub titled I Know That We Are Not New (a line taken from the contained cover of Cohenís Hey, Thatís No Way To Say Goodbye) is Will Saunders from The Lowest Fidelityís take on a collection of obscure tracks, which ironically were new to me. Itís the mode now to take on, often poorly, the latest hits of the Billboard charts, posting them to YouTube in the vain hope of riding off the coattails of the songís fame.
View All Articles By Petros

NZ Top 10 Singles

    DJ Khaled feat. Justin Bieber, Chance The Rapper And Quavo
    Benny Blanco feat. Halsey And Khalid
    Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B
    5 Seconds Of Summer
  • FEFE
    6ix9ine feat. Nicki Minaj And Murda Beatz
    Tyga feat. Offset
    Travis Scott feat. Drake
    Juice WRLD
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem