4 Aug 2020
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Late Model European - Album Review: It’s Time

11 Aug 2019 // A review by Corinne Rutherford

Life-long best friends John Nelson and Tones Thorburn are a couple of Scottish guys who now live in New Zealand, One in Auckland, the other in Marlborough. Together they make up Late Model European, a band with a sound I would describe as Pop Rock mixed with Classic New Wave. It’s Time is the long awaited eleven track debut album from these guys; it is fresh and funky yet nostalgic at the same time. They share a passion and love for creating and performing music together, and it shows.

Before I launch into the nitty gritty of this album, I have the great honour of being one of the recipients of the It’s Time vinyl LP which was pressed by Holiday Records, it also turns out this is one of the first vinyl records to be pressed in NZ since the EMI plant closed their doors back in the late 1980's. For a record collector such as myself, this was like gold. Translucent red vinyl encased in a pictorial album cover of photographs showing the band recording. The highly desirable album insert of song lyrics is also provided. Everything about the presentation of this LP was classy and flawless, right down to the retro looking front cover and the plain black wrapping sealed with wax that the LP was presented in.

It doesn’t stop there. This disc of beauty was recorded at Neil Finn’s Roundhead Studios, produced by Ben King (Goldenhorse) and mastered by Don Bartley at Benchmark Mastering in Sydney (revered for mastering INXS Kick and the highly praised and sought after, re-mastered vinyl re-issue of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club).

Late Model European has created a sound which would appeal to a wide range of people. Back in the late 1970’s playing the Scottish and Northern England music scene they were both rockers and punk-rockers influenced by bands such as Led Zeppelin, AC/DC through to The Stranglers, Sex Pistols and The Jam. These musical influences are reflected in the songs on this album.

Multifaceted layers make up this album. Exceptional guitar and unique vocals complement the keyboards. Each track carefully crafted with the help of some of New Zealand’s finest musicians, Ben King (Producer) on bass, synths and support vocals; Tom Broome on drums; Jacob O’Callahan on grand piano; Claire Cowan on cello; and Adam Whybro on another type of synth called a string machine. The glorious feel-good song Summer Rain, which oozes warmth and good times under a summery sky, features the alluring backing vocals of Dianne Swann.

The quality of musicianship and diverse mix of instruments add to the depth of this album. Each song is laden with emotion, beautifully written. A lyrical insight into the boy's hearts.

My personal standouts on this album include She Flies, laden with grungy guitar and the bonus track Eleventh Hour written by Tones Thorburn which is poignant and captivating.

Back to the glorious red vinyl disc. I listened to It's Time on digital download first, nervous to give the record its virgin spin on my slightly underwhelming player and less than par blue tooth speaker (swapping out my huge speakers and system for a CD player back in the 90's has now come back to haunt me). I did however bite the bullet, breaking the record in. I am very glad I did, I picked up instrumentals and sounds that I missed on the digital download. This LP has impeccable sound quality.

From start to finish listening to It's Time in the various forms it has been released in, pouring over the album cover and reading the lyrics from the insert has been a very enjoyable journey for me. The entire package is something I will treasure and a stunning asset to my vinyl collection.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Late Model European

Late Model European is a songwriting and music collaboration between John and Tones; two life-long best friends who grew up together in a sleepy little village in Scotland.

Starting their musical journey together as wide-eyed teenagers with big dreams, big hair and big amps, back in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s, they had plans to conquer the music world. That didn’t quite happen but they did rip it up around the Scottish and Northern England music scene. Not knowing whether they were Punks, Mods or Rockers didn’t really matter to them; they just shared a passion and a love for making and performing music together!

Then life came along and took them down different paths. Their jeans weren’t as wide as before but their eyes were still wide open; they knew there was a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Little did they know they were destined to come together again some 40 years later, across the other side of the world in New Zealand!

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Late Model European

Releases

It's Time
Year: 2019
Type: Album

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