27 May 2022

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Album Review: Various Artists - True Colours New Colours

03 Apr 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

Unless you live in NZ it is probably unlikely you will realise just what an important band Split Enz was/is to the local scene. Sure, they had some international hits and I remember hearing I Got You back in the UK when it was released as a single, but in NZ/Aus they were/are royalty and True Colours has rightly taken its place as one of the most important albums ever released in Aotearoa. They had 10 albums (including seven studio albums) reach the top 10 of the Official New Zealand Music Chart and between 1980 and 1982, they had four number-one albums in New Zealand and three in Australia. True Colours included the Neil Finn-written breakthrough single I Got You which reached the top of the charts on both sides of the ditch, while the album also hit #1 in both countries, #10 in Canada, and inside the Top 40 in both the UK and USA.

Although the Aussies have always seen fit to lay claim to various NZ bands which have travelled to Australia (such as Crowded House, Dragon), Split Enz have always been very much Kiwi icons, but close to Australian hearts (they had more entries than anyone else in the 2001 APRA Top 100 New Zealand Songs of All Time with eight, and that doesn’t include the six for Crowded House), and this 2021 celebratory re-recording features artists from both NZ and Australia. The concept was simple, re-record the whole album, with each performer given just one song, and being allowed to make it their own, but does it work?

Firstly, this is a collection of great songs, and with everyone ensuring the song is at least recognisable then it is hard for it to be anything but fun, but is it essential? Take for example Australian duo Lime Cordiale and their version of Nobody Takes Me Seriously: it is a decent cover but while not detracting anything it doesn’t add anything either. However, Busby Marou have taken Missing Person and turned it into something special, poignant, and heartfelt. Stan Walker is one of the highlights, taking Poor Boy and changing it into a modern dance classic with wonderful vocals. This could easily have been taken as a single as it has his class all over it as he makes it one of his own.

But when it comes to the classic from the album, there really was only band who could be chosen to undertake the iconic I Got You, and that was the mighty Shihad. They are restrained in the verse, but the chorus just goes off, and I only hope they perform this whenever they manage to tour (it’s been cancelled twice now due to COVID). This was always a song which threatened to be a belter, so Jon has just upped the ante and done just that, and if ever a song is designed to get everyone bouncing up and down in the mosh and singing at the top of their voices, it is this one. A special mention must also be made of the punkish up-tempo approach of The Beths on What’s The Matter With You which is just plain over the top fun.

This is available as both an album on its own or a deluxe issue which also contains the original album as well. Overall, I still prefer the original, but there are some fine covers on here.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

Torn Chorus - Single Review: The Meaning of Light/Rhythm of Sound
26 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Torn Chorus is Franklin Davis, an Auckland-based songwriter, musician, and photographer, who provides bass, various guitars, and vocals. This is about how he perceives the world through light and sound, as a photographer and musician.
Moofish - Single/Video Review: Ash Tree Lament
26 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
I must confess to knowing very little about MOoFiSh apart from that they are a duo of Rhonda Hofmans Johnson and Chris Fish Johnson, and while Rhonda is the lead singer I don’t know if they create all the music themselves or if other musicians are involved. They have been releasing music since 2018, and my first thought on playing on this was “how on earth am I going to be able to describe this”?
Shadowcaster - Single Review: Cast a Shadow
26 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Although there is a band when it comes to performing live, in the studio Shadowcaster is a one-man affair with Trent Graham performing all manner of guitars and some keyboards. While it contains elements of the likes of Mumford & Sons there is also a very definite nod to The Levellers and our very own Albi & The Wolves (although with no violin).
STATES - Single/Video Review: Hostage
26 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
It has been a year since States released their last single, Relentless, but they were caught up in the COVID lockdowns and even though they recorded drum tracks at the end of 2020 they were unable to complete the songs. However, they are in the studio right now with Zorran Mendonsa (Devilskin, Coridian, City of Souls, Blacklistt) and hopefully they will be releasing material throughout the rest of the year as if this is anything to go by then we are on for a treat.
Michael Signal - Single Review: Magnetism
25 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Now, I must confess to being as much a fan of short song as I am of long ones and given how much I listen to Napalm Death that is probably a good thing. But all short songs I know tend to fall into one of two camps, in that they are either complete in their own right (and are generally brutal), or are introductory tasters for a longer piece of music and I cannot help but feel that what we have here is the latter and my only complaint is that it stops after 90 seconds and I feel somewhat bereft.
Max Hill - Album Review: M.H.
23 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Max Hill (they/them) originally started as Slow Rage, which became a duo with the addition of drummer Sam Hatley, building quite a reputation in the all-ages scene. However, like many other musicians they decided to make the most of the first lockdown in 2020 and started work on what would turn out to be a totally solo album recorded in their bedroom.
Stephen McDaid - Album Review: Trail Maps
23 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the debut solo album from Stephen McDaid, who has been somewhat busy helping out his in-law’s by playing on both Guy Hobson and Kay Duncan’s recent releases, but now he has found time to go out on his own. Given that he has been adding guitar to both those other albums it is no surprise that this is the primary instrument, but here it is an acoustic which is the perfect accompaniment to his strong vocals.
Kay Duncan - Album Review: Interstellar Refugee
23 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
On this her debut album, Kay Duncan provides vocals and guitar, and she is joined by her husband Guy Hobson on keyboards and brother-in-law Stephen McDaid on lead guitar. I was initially listening to this while working outside on the farm and it took me a while to work out who her voice often reminded me of, namely Karen Carpenter.
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