22 Jun 2021
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Looking For Alaska - Album Review: Light and Shadow

16 Nov 2020 // A review by Kev Rowland

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to see Looking For Alaska in concert promoting their new album, Light and Shadow. It was a very special event indeed, as while Aaron Gott and Amy Maynard were joined that night by a full band, there was no doubt indeed that the evening was all about the magic created by just the two of them. In many ways the album is a very close reflection of that night, as while they are joined by additional players when the time is right, this is about a couple letting us inside their own very special world. 

When I’m Alone is a naked song; two voices with no room to hide and just a little reverb as Amy takes the lead and Aaron provides the harmony. It may be only two minutes long, but it casts a spell far greater than that, as the listener is immediately invested, feeling this is something very special indeed which we are honoured enough to bear witness to. From here on in we are taken on a journey, with some songs rooted in the blues (All The Broken People), others classic Seventies rock (Where Have You Gone), but always with superb control and wonderful vocals. Aaron is a fine singer in his own right, and even takes some leads, but his real strength is in providing the music as he switches from keyboards to guitars as well as delicately singing harmonies, but Amy’s vocals are something very special indeed. She has a wonderful range, combined with breadth and power, and when in a live environment she reminds me of Janis Joplin, but in the studio she has far more control. Throughout the album her singing is warm, delicate yet with strength, passionate and perfectly in sync with everything being provided by Aaron. 

Listen to them harmonising on Let You Go, and it almost feels as if we are intruding on a special moment as they sing to each other: the restraint is incredible, and even though there is musical backing it feels as the world only exists through their voices, and their voices are the world. There are quite a few musical nuances and tricks throughout the album, such as banjo here and violin there, yet the music is always geared to one aim, providing the perfect support and vehicle for the vocals.  

There is a strange fragility within the album, as it creates a spell which the listener worries will be broken at any point, but there is also a strength which really comes through when listened to on headphones. During Hine Atarau and Lily Amy lets her passion finally boil over as she screams and hits very high notes indeed, but even then, it is kept under control and somewhat muted. 

There have been some very special albums released on Aotearoa this year, and this is one of the finest. 

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Looking For Alaska

Like two weary vagabonds hitch-hiking along the open road with nothing but a guitar and a suitcase of songs and wayward memories, pop-folk duo Looking For Alaska are ready to set the New Zealand folk scene alight.

Members Aaron Gott and Amy Maynard offer up a sound rooted in country-style guitar and soaring harmonies woven together at their very fibre, intensified by their magnetic on-stage chemistry. The duo's familiarity, closeness and authenticity is fueled by their real-life romance, creating a magnetic performance style that captivates their audience time and time again, and has seen them open for the likes of Fly My Pretties and Herbs, and as a featured act at the Auckland Folk Festival.

Having performed together extensively since they bonded during a recording assignment at music school in 2012, Aaron and Amy embarked upon their newest musical endeavour Looking For Alaska two years ago, and have since worked tirelessly to create a collection of original material, ranging from thigh-slapping, foot-stomping folk sing-alongs, to poignant heart-rending ballads drenched in melancholy.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Looking For Alaska

Releases

Light and Shadow
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Looking For Alaska
Year: 2016
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

Albi & The Wolves - Gig Review: Rock The Folk @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 18/06/2021
20 Jun 2021 // by Kev Rowland
So, it was back to the lovely little venue which is The Tuning Fork. It is somewhere I always enjoy going to, as not only is the food and beer very good indeed, but there is a good sound and everyone can see.
Read More...
LearningToDive - Single Review: You Said It Best
17 Jun 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Learningtodive is one of a series of projects from Bravo Bonez, a musician and producer currently based in Wellington, New Zealand. He released his first single under this name back in November last year, since when he has followed it up with more singles and his debut album Norwegian Pop, which came out in April.
Read More...
Gig Review: Blitz Metal Fest @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 12/06/2021
13 Jun 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Well, today was a first for me, coming to Ding Dong in the daylight! This was because it was time for Metal Blitz, a 13-band event being held which was planned to run for 10 hours but we all thought was probably going to take longer.
Read More...
Gatekeepers - Single Review: Always a Rebel, Never a Rogue
09 Jun 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Gatekeepers may be a new name to most of you, but this New Plymouth quartet have managed to secure the opening slot in Hamilton for the Devilskin and Kora show, so they have already started to gain some attention and based on this single one can hear why. The band was only formed earlier this year by guitarist/singer Jeremy Donoghue, rhythm guitarist Sean Phillips and bassist Mat Pipe, since when they have been writing and recording tracks before sending them to the UK to be mixed by Adam Wain.
Read More...
Investigator - Single Review: Lake of Eyes
09 Jun 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Adrian Drew and his band of merry men are back with the third single from their forthcoming album and given what I have heard to date I am really looking forward to that when it comes out. While Adrian provides guitar and vocals, the band is now firmly settled with David Crowhen (bass) Undercut, Craig van Kan (drums), The Couch, and lead guitarist Adam Morton-Mason, These Fine Galleons.
Read More...
Mudbelly - Single Review: Baby U No Good
07 Jun 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to both survive the ravages of Canterbury’s wild weather and experience the force of nature which is Mudbelly, with the latter more than making up for going out in the driving rain to get to the gig. This means I am in the somewhat unusual position of having heard this song played in concert prior to coming across the recorded version, and it is interesting to hear just how different it is in this setting.
Read More...
DRXNES - Single Review: Junkie
07 Jun 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Prior to hearing this single I had heard only positive things about Whanganui band DRXNES and having now played this I can see exactly why. This is a highly polished, highly produced number which sounds as if it has come out of a top American band and studio as opposed to little old Aotearoa.
Read More...
Gig Review: Dead Favours @ Darkroom, Christchurch - 04/06/2021
07 Jun 2021 // by Kev Rowland
For the second time in less than a week it was back into the centre of Christchurch and St. Asaph Street, but whereas last time it was to the 12 Bar, this week it was next door, to Darkroom.
Read More...
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • GOOD 4 U
    Olivia Rodrigo
  • SOLAR POWER
    Lorde
  • KISS ME MORE
    Doja Cat feat. SZA
  • PEACHES
    Justin Bieber feat. Daniel Caesar And Giveon
  • DEJA VU
    Olivia Rodrigo
  • TRAITOR
    Olivia Rodrigo
  • BODY (REMIX)
    Russ Millions x Tion Wayne
  • LEVITATING
    Dua Lipa feat. DaBaby
  • FAVORITE CRIME
    Olivia Rodrigo
  • MONTERO (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME)
    Lil Nas X
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem