21 Oct 2019
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Fly My Pretties - Album Review: String Theory

20 Nov 2016 // A review by Trevor Faville

Welcome to the 6th recorded excursion from Barnaby Weir's occasional collective who have certainly become something of a fixture for New Zealand music since 2004.

Fly My Pretties is an idea that has proved to have real legs, and not one that is showing any signs of losing momentum. A powerful part of this is the regular addition of new faces and perspectives, which when combined with ‘regulars’ gives the whole experience something of an evolutionary feel. String Theory is the thematic link/starting point for the songs this time around, with most of the writers approaching the theory as a way of exploring philosophical and personal ideas about the individual’s place in the universe. It doesn’t get as heavy as it sounds- as Ills Winter’s lyrical response says…”floating in space, thinking…..whaaaaaaat?”- But the darker lyrical approaches tend to be reflected in the more dense arrangements and instrumentations.

The intensity factor is high for most of the work, Tiki Taane perhaps topping the score with This Life, although A Girl Called Mo’s Mud and Stardust is up there as well. That’s not to say the work is without humour, but as mentioned before, certain darkness pervades throughout.

The value in doing this as a live album, and (crucially) live videos, is that the real strength is in the live performances. The focus is on crafting the music into tight, focused and precisely performed arrangements- the execution is where the magic is.

Are the songwriting influences a bit obvious? Yes, at times, frankly. Fans of Talking Heads, St Vincent or Massive Attack might furrow the odd brow. Balanced against that, though are moments like the nifty chromatic jumping in Still by Miloux, which does move away from the expected.

Certainly this is the “next step on the journey”, as it might be said. The concept of Fly My Pretties is held together by the flexibility element and, ironically, the format and time limitations imposed on the contributors. Limitations can force decisions, and it’s the solutions to problems that give the interesting results. Certainly there is great reward in using this album as a starting point to explore the work of the individual contributors.

 

About Fly My Pretties

Fly My Pretties are New Zealand's favourite live collaborative group starring a selection of the country’s finest contemporary musicians, all set to a visual backdrop.

Since its inception, Fly My Pretties has grown to become a local legend of music that continues to reach people all over the world. Fly My Pretties first entered New Zealanders’ hearts and minds in 2004, with the idea from The Black Seeds front-man Barnaby Weir and Mikee Tucker (Loop), to assemble a talented and exciting group of Wellington-based musicians for a special project.

The objective: To meet, exchange ideas, and then perform and record the results in front of a live audience. Fly My Pretties performed their first season at Wellington’s Bats Theatre over five nights. It was a hit, and Fly My Pretties became Bats most attended event of 2004. Likewise, the album Fly My Pretties - Live at Bats achieved platinum-status, received 6 B-Net nominations (winning Best Pop Album), and was released internationally in the UK.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Fly My Pretties

Releases

String Theory
Year: 2016
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
The Homeland Recordings
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
IV
Year: 2012
Type: Album
A Story CD/DVD Deluxe Box
Year: 2009
Type: Album
The Return Of Fly My Pretties
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Fly My Pretties Live At Bats
Year: 2004
Type: Album

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