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Album Review: Waiuku College Music Presents - Our Sound Volume 1

01 Dec 2017 // A review by Trevor Faville

This collection of songs from students at Waiuku College is an example of a new sensibility in music education, motivated by perceptions of industry realities and recognising the strengths and influences of the students themselves. At its best, this makes for an exciting situation where fresh musical energy and ideas grab hold of traditional knowledge benefiting both. Be prepared for variations in terms of genre, something that should not really be a problem to an interested listener, but certainly not what a modern consumer might be conditioned to expect in terms of stylistic unity.

The consequence of having a range of styles, is that at times the musical influences are really quite clearly worn on many sleeves. Lyrical concerns are also perhaps an area that can reflect a somewhat narrow focus, but there’s no denying the melodic strengths, intelligent arrangements, and creativity that is on display here. The music in this collection is consistently strong, and frequently a great deal more than that. Track after track stand out, because they either push the boundaries of what the sound and instruments imply, or they embrace a genre and completely own it. There’s no denying the technical and musical delivery of the songs. Right from the opening track, there is a real sense of purpose that is very compelling.

Possibly the strongest thing that stands out in this collection is a profoundly musical sensibility - there is wry wit, an awareness of how to make a chorus soar, and plainly here is a bunch of musicians who have found their individual voices. Ben Ruegg, the Head of Music at Waiuku college, deserves special mention for this alone - notwithstanding his organisation and production work. This is the result of top-notch music education.

Singling out individual tracks would be unwise, the risk of unfair comparisons and an ‘apples/oranges’ situation is too great. Suffice it to say that the influences of some of the great New Zealand female singers are strongly represented, as are some classic exponents of pop-punk, and Knights of Cydonia - mode Muse, among a lot else. Every flavour tastes real.

There could be a lot of careers beginning here. This collection is a really rewarding listen. Highly recommended.

Review written by Trevor Faville


Other Reviews By Trevor Faville

Al Fraser, Sam Leamy and Neil Johnstone - Album Review: Panthalassa
17 Sep 2019 // by Trevor Faville
This trio of highly experienced creators (aided by an impressive cast of guest contributors) have created a suite of sonic explorations with quite clear ‘‘abstract and impressionist” intent. The attendant press notes explain in detail the scope, intent and process of this work.
Tablefox - Single Review: Always Always
05 Sep 2019 // by Trevor Faville
Tablefox have been on a career climb since 2013, steadily building momentum with some notable live gigs and recorded work. Along the way the group has grown from three to five and their sound has evolved in scope and focus as a result.
Albi & The Wolves - Gig Review: Albi and the Wolves @ Nivara Lounge, Hamilton - 23/08/2019
30 Aug 2019 // by Trevor Faville
There is a group of New Zealand musicians who are really putting in some time around the touring circuit at the moment. It's cliche to describe them as ‘hard working’ - that's glib and a redundancy - but certainly, the work is getting done and it is showing in terms of their successes.
Single Review: Blue River Baby
06 Jun 2019 // by Trevor Faville
The hard working Wellington based 'electric psychedelic soul and funk rock' ensemble Blue River Baby have released their self-titled and third single as a video. Blue River Baby clearly has the same evolution as Walk of Shame and Black Yard Town.
New Telepathics - Single Review: Life On Other Planets
27 Mar 2019 // by Trevor Faville
The New Telepathics are an Auckland based ensemble with quite an extensive recording and performing history-and a history that deserves a thorough exploration. This is a refreshingly independently minded ensemble.
Blue River Baby - Single Review: Black Yard Town
19 Feb 2019 // by Trevor Faville
The Blue River Baby band have been working and evolving in Wellington for the last two years or so, and this tune is a clear representation of the style and sound that they have developed. Black Yard Town moves through a range of tempo and dynamic changes in a funk/ soul context, with an arrangement that is in one way tight and at the same time fluid.
Album Review: Waiuku College - Our Sound
09 Jan 2019 // by Trevor Faville
Changes in secondary education point towards project based and /or big picture learning approaches which attempts, among other things, to replicate ‘real world situations and experiences. The idea being that learning would involve many curriculum linking into a project or experience.
Gig Review: Panic! At The Disco @ Spark Arena, Auckland - 16/10/2018
18 Oct 2018 // by Trevor Faville
The backstory of Panic! At the Disco makes for some interesting questions when going to this show.
View All Articles By Trevor Faville

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