23 Feb 2020
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Hobnail - Album Review: Boots And All

29 Jun 2019 // A review by Darryl Baser

Wellington band Hobnail is celebrating 25 years of making music with an album called, Boots and All.

The LP spanning the band’s first quarter of a century is out this week and the band is set to tour the country in July.

The first two songs, Westbound Train and Every Single Day are led by Rob Joass in his country tinged style featuring clean acoustic guitars, and a violin taking the melodic lead. Fittingly both are journeying songs.

Third track in Deeper Well is driven by legendary drummer of The Chills, Verlaines and more; Caroline Easther. Driven from the outset quite literally as it opens with her pounding on her floor tom (or a very low rack tom). Her voice is clear as a bell and floats across a well-manicured sea of overdriven guitars.

Elbow (The Driving Song) is, as the title suggests, another travelling song. The central image painted is of the author driving “midnight on the Desert Road” with his elbow out the window, as “life goes on”.

Caroline Easther retakes the lead on All Through The Town, it’s a wonderful tale of a lover rejected for another. The protagonist clearly still loves the person who’s moved on to another woman. It’s a classic theme, well composed about being an uncomposed mess after being left for someone else.

Another song each from Joass and Easther, before Rob Joass slows the pace to ballad tempo with Blue Sky Song, which sounds like a typical early winter’s day in Otago, or Wellington. It’s a really nice change of pace.

The band’s sound is every-so-slightly alt country. More emphasis on the country than the alt. Think more The Warratahs than The Renderers.

Maria’s Last Words has a wonderful Irish jig feel, and it tells a tale of a couple for whom drinking the weekend away was the done thing, until one of them has had enough. Musically it brings hem tempo back up.

Celebrating the band’s first 25 years is always going to be a comprehensive task, with 18 songs on the reviewer’s private Spotify playlist

If it gets released on vinyl I’m pretty sure it’ll be a double LP, and a great artefact to mark time on the band’s career to date.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Hobnail

From humble beginnings in Wellington bars Hobnail have gone on to release 7 albums, and tour extensively playing clubs, venues and festivals throughout New Zealand.

Their album Fortune Horses was a finalist for Best Folk Album at the New Zealand Music Awards. Songs Dead in the Water and Baggage were both nominated for Best Country Song, while their 2015 album String Things was generally regarded as the best of their career. They have just released their 7th Album Blue Sky Songs.

Festival favourites with a loyal following, their live performance has been described as “spellbinding”, “captivating”, “incendiary”, “rousing” and “highly spirited and entertaining”.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Hobnail

Releases

Boots And All
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Blue Sky Songs
Year: 2017
Type: Album
String Things
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Baggage
Year: 2012
Type: Album

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