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Congress of Animals - Album Review: Congress of Animals

11 Dec 2018 // A review by eidirbs

Congress of Animals is a New Zealand supergroup bringing together wide branch of talent and friendship, mainly hailing from Wellington. The group mainly consists of Age Pryor (Founder of Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra), Nigel Collins (Actor, Playwright, Flight of the Conchords), Justin 'Firefly' Clarke (Fly My Pretties, Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, music teacher), Ben Lemi (TrinityRoots), Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords) and Deanne Krieg (Singer, Songwriter). With Pryor and Lemi being the most noted writing contributors on this album, the rest of the band play equally large parts in the production and live performance.

I write this review only a couple of weeks after seeing the band perform in Haumoana, Hawkes Bay as part of their Strange Caravan tour. Their first show sold out, pursuing the band to release tickets for a second night at the same venue, an old hall in a small town. My personal favourite kind of venue.

This self-titled album is an easy listening masterpiece which never leaves you feeling as though the songs are too slow or dragged out. Each component is beautifully perfected to create a long listening experience that sets itself up to be put on repeat for any occasion. With almost every genre and instrument you could wish for there’s a surprise around every corner on this album. Special mention goes to track 10 - Magnificent Being. With guitar solos, harmonies, flute, electric keyboard and even a western flare in places, this is a truly magical song which proves this band has something special to share with the world.

Astral Tumbleweed is a personal favourite with a guitar solo that can only be referred to as ‘face melting’. To The Lookout a single that can be noted as a real highlight with the lyrical and vocal powers handed over to Ben Lemi that previously spoke out about the song being about an encounter he had in his garden that stuck with him, this moment unveiling many emotions that can be heard represented in this song. This story brings us some personal insight to the inspirations of this album and the subject matter never being just one particular theme. Each lyric is based on the writers own experience.

I could dive into every small intricacy of this album easily, but I personally feel this two-year masterpiece is best enjoyed fully and without question. New Zealand music has been graced with a great album that’s going to stand the test of time.

Congress of Animals' self-titled album can be found on iTunes, Spotify and Apple Music.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Congress of Animals

A collective of renowned kiwi songwriters and solo artists, tracing lineage to many of NZ’s most loved bands, join forces this spring to bring you The Strange Caravan Tour.

The tour features Bret McKenzie, Age Pryor, Justin 'Firefly' Clarke, Nigel Collins and Ben Lemi, whose musical projects include Fly My Pretties, TrinityRoots and Flight of the Conchords to name but a few. This five piece ensemble now congregate to showcase new original songs in intimate live settings across the country this November and December.

Starting as a series of jam sessions between old friends, the group of songsmiths has blossomed from an ad hoc hangout to full musical partnership over the last eighteen months.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Congress of Animals


Congress of Animals
Year: 2018
Type: Album

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