23 Feb 2020
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Tommy and The Fallen Horses - Album Review: OpenHearts

19 Sep 2019 // A review by Darryl Baser

Wellington band Tommy and the Fallen Horses have just released a new album OpenHearts after a 5-year hiatus.

The band is firmly straddling the Alt-Country, and Folk-Rock genres and are being hailed as one of the most compelling groups to emerge from New Zealand’s rich musical landscape in the past decade.

Hyperbole aside the album opens with the gently swaying If I Was Gonna Make It; the song displaying Tommy Benefield’s songwriting chops. It’s easy to hear the mass and commercial appeal in his music, and in particularly the way the album has been produced. It’s very slick.

Book Of A Lifetime follows raising the tempo a bit. Benefield’s vocals are in the foreground of the mix, sitting on the well-polished instrumental bed. I can’t help but wonder if he’s spent time in the USA, or has American heritage, as there’s a distinct American twang in his accent and I can’t help but wonder if he’s putting it on, which (in my opinion) would be a disappointment.

Daylight and Countin' The Hours roll by quite serenely, with the latter having more spark, or drive.

Ahead of listening to the song I assume that Half A Bottle is a drinking song. Well partially correct, Tommy also mentions rolling joints too.

God Ain’t Love is a great challenging song title and the content backs up it up well. Musically it is the same syrupy country pop by numbers, as will much of the LP. Pretty cool controversial song title for this genre.

I Don’t Mind is lyrically naïve, right from the get-go. "Oh oh, looking for my band to play with, oh oh, looking for some girl to lay with." It’s just a jolt coming from a song which would challenge the foundations of your typical God-fearin’, country music lovin’ southern Baptist Christian.

The 13-song album is a strong collection of songs which should collect new fans, as his music has already appeared on TV programs including Shortland St, and Outrageous Fortune, as well as on Radio New Zealand National.

The album is produced by Geoff Maddock who crafted Goldenhorse’s commercial triumph Riverhead.

Personally, I’d like to hear more edge, or a little roughness around the edges, but it is excellently produced none-the-less.

Rating: ( 3 / 5 )
 

About Tommy and The Fallen Horses

Alt-Country, Indie-Pop and Folk-Rock band Tommy and The Fallen Horses are undeniably one of the most compelling groups to emerge from New Zealand’s rich musical landscape in the past decade. Crafting his work with deep artistic integrity, poetic singer-songwriter Tommy Benefield has gained a loyal following in the New Zealand music community (Shortland St, Outrageous Fortune, Sunday Star Times, National Radio).

After a five year hiatus, Tommy and The Fallen Horses return with their sophomore album, Openhearts. Described by Nick Bollinger as “soul-baring, heartfelt and well-crafted,” Openhearts is deeply rooted in emotive melodies and driving alt-country riffs — the quintessential road-trip record. The album, produced by Geoff Maddock (the mastermind behind Goldenhorse’s commercial triumph Riverhead), is released on 13th September 2019.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Tommy and The Fallen Horses

Releases

Parihaka
Year: 2011
Type: Album
Isolation Is The New Party
Year: 2009
Type: Album

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