27 May 2022

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Metrosideros - Single Review: If This Be Love

02 Mar 2022 // A review by Steve Shyu

Steve S AKA Paul T Gheist was honoured to be invited into the Metrosideros camp for a hearty sample of their newest single If This be Love. Having not sat down with a cup of tea and some electro-dub music in years, Steve was completely and utterly all ears as he delved in.

A gentle well of plucked harp-strings welcomes one into the piece, hypnotising the listener from the start with loops of a few Asiatic-sounding chords. What could only be described as Eastern-esque drums then make themselves heard, light and sparsely used to evoke a sense of wonder.

The groove is wholly realised as the electronic beat n’ bass is set loose, a broken-up, low-paced rhythm, a characteristic of the trip-hop genre. In comes a very relaxed yet solid, mildly-soulful voice from Tupe Solomon-Tanoa'i of Poporazzi. Matched with pensive lyrics of self-reflection, the song gives the listener pause.

If this be love, can I still be free? If this be love, what does it mean to me?

There are thoughtful layers of sound and samples, and the dynamics fluctuate tenderly between verses and choruses.

Upon a couple more listens, one realises there is plenty to digest and listen out for: The reverse-shuffling sound of snares, the partly-dissonant synthesisers, the delicate employment of acoustic guitars and more.

For a trip-hop track, If This Be Love ticks all the boxes. The slow groove is there, the psychedelia is there, and so is the brooding vocal tone. But what is extra impressive is that the writers clearly went out of their way to use different sounds, sampled different strings and percussion instruments, rather than relying solely on ready-to-use programmed effects.

The end result is a refreshing and organic take on a decades-old genre, and a deeply personal listening experience. The choices in instrumentation is what leaves an impression, and one suspects this is what Metrosideros does best: Pushing the envelope.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Metrosideros

Metrosideros is a project of Matt Dalzell, guitarist and songwriter once of the Malchicks, which came together after pandemic lockdown was eased in Wellington in mid-2020. Matt and Ellie Rose discovered a mutual fascination with trip hop, vintage roots blues and jazz from the 1920's, and breakbeats and electronica. They primarily work out of Puresound Studios. A Metrosideros live band began playing in March 2021 to promote the second EP, titled var., released in parallel with Shore Dive Records, UK.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Metrosideros


Year: 2021
Type: EP
Year: 2020
Type: EP

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