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The Checks - 'Alice By The Moon' album review

11 Jun 2009 // A review by Trevor Faville
The Checks
Alice By The Moon.

The Checks have traversed a ridiculously parabolic success curve, finding their stride musically when still at school and moving from strength to strength. The 'Hunting Whales' CD had them gathering genuine overseas success and they can quote some very big names as referees on a CV.

Which makes sitting down to listen to this, their second CD proper, quite an anticipatory experience. How does the recorded sound develop after the two years that this band has had?

Well, it certainly takes more than one listen to take it all in, this is overflowing with ideas and makes for some quite extraordinary moments.

The strengths are three:

The guitars. This CD has some intriguing moments of six string wizardry, and through the course you can hear mid seventies Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin (!), Dr Feelgood and White Stripes leaping out at you. The guitar work here is intelligent, considered, and thoroughly engaging

The vocals. Throughout vocalist Edward Knowles displays character and range (emotional, stylistic and musical) and what a joy it is to hear a vocalist from New Zealand singing with such exuberance. At times you can almost hear the sweat hitting the microphone.

The groove. Obviously this group has done the hard yards live, and this shows in the tightness and suppleness of the rhythm section, and in the arrangements.

So, then, this CD gets rated “M” for “mature”, but in that good way. The song structures have that loose –but-everyone-knows-what-they-are-doing feel, which gives the CD a comfortable “live” band flavour. It’s hard to pick a stand out track, as there is no one song on this CD that could serve as an honest indicator of the band. This might cost them a bit when it comes time to market “The Single”, but there is simply far too much range in the music, which makes it the kind of CD you could well be listening to ten years from now.

Review by Trevf

About The Checks

The Checks' brand of blues-driven, jazzed-up, high-energy, raw, soul madness has seen the young band sell out venues that are packed to the rafters with dance-crazed punters.

In January 2003, Embraced by student radio, the five teenagers from Auckland’s Devonport first performed at a friend's birthday party. The set consisted of an eclectic mix of cover songs.

March 2003: Buoyed by the enthusiastic response to their first ever performance, the lads decide to enter the school music competition, and proceed to rock the house. Despite having the crowd on their side, they come second to the only band that played an original song; a lesson that may eventually benefit all lovers of guitar driven rock music, as the lads go home and write their first ever self written song The Creek.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Checks


Deadly Summer Sway
Year: 2011
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Alice By The Moon
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Hunting Whales
Year: 2007
Type: Album
What You Heard
Year: 2005
Type: EP

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