19 May 2022

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The Rocky Bay Midnights - Album Review: Songs About People We Know

10 Oct 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

The Rocky Bay Midnights are a Waiheke Island-based group who first started some three years ago when Meredith Wilkie (vocals, percussion) and Kyla Dyresen (keyboard/piano) were both independently looking for musicians, to work with, and decided to form a band together. It took quite a while for them to settle on the current line-up of Simon McDowell (drums), Dione Denize (bass) and Julion Wright (guitar, saxophone) and now they have just released their debut album. Meredith and Kyla were the ones who formed the band, and they are at the height of everything which is going on, with Kyla’s piano often underpinning the music, while Meredith’s vocals are broad, rich and full of passion.

Although musically they are quite different, I found that I was reminded me of a few other female-fronted bands such as Mudbelly and Green, as in all cases the bands have wonderful musicians and songs, yet the attention is taken by the person behind the microphone, such is the power and force of their performance. One aspect I really like about these guys is the way that in Julion they have someone who can perform on two very different instruments, and when he takes on the sax he has a wonderfully wailful tone which fits in perfectly with the vocals.

This does not come across as a debut album as there is a real breadth of material, and whether they are playing classic soul, RnB or more into rock, they are perfectly at home. Light My Candle is so laid back and luxurious that it almost feels like it is falling over, while Scaredy Cat belongs firmly in a blue club. They have approached the recording of the songs with the live environment in mind, which means that we often do not have a guitar as the sax is deemed to be more important and while Julion can double track in the studio he can’t do it on stage. This means that there is a deliberate hole in the sound, allowing Simon and Dione to provide the force and platform for Kyla who has a wonderful approach to piano. It is obvious that Meredith and Kyla work on the material in such a way that if there were no other players they could work as a duo, but the other guys add additional colours and tones to make this what it is.

From beginning to end, this has real depth, and the result is an album which can be played repeatedly with a smile on the listener’s face throughout.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About The Rocky Bay Midnights

What happens when two dedicated songwriters coincidentally create almost identical Facebook posts, each seeking a band?

In 2018, Kyla and Meredith met via two nearly identical posts posted eleven days apart on a Waiheke Musicians Facebook group. It didn't take long for them to realise that something special happened when they wrote together - and thus The Rocky Bay Midnights were born!

The Rocky Bay Midnights (The RBMs) are a group of experienced musicians from Waiheke Island who love to make music with soul. An all-original soul-rock-jazz-psychedlic extravaganza, their songs span a range of emotion as well as sound. Their debut album, Songs About People We Know, is a collection of songs that feature histories, lessons, and experiences of the writers - that listeners can relate to. Their songs are sometimes comedic (Light My Candle), sometimes painful (You Must Stay, about a phone call from from a suicidal loved one), and occasionally a bit staunch and fearless (Leave Him, about a best friend in an abusive relationship). Their songs are all “true stories” and have a fierce yet vulnerable, emotionally raw but simultaneously polished, quality to them.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Rocky Bay Midnights


Songs About People We Know
Year: 2021
Type: Album

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