21 Mar 2023

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

Troy Kingi - Album Review: The Year of the Ratbags And Their Musty Theme Songs

11 Oct 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

It is safe to say there is no other artist in New Zealand currently working at the pace of Troy Kingi. Earlier this year he released the te reo version of Holy Colony Burning Acres, Pu Whenua Hautapu, Eka Mumura, finished the tour for Black Sea Golden Ladder, and is now back with his latest album, Year of The Ratbags and Their Musty Theme Songs, while already in the studio with TeMatera Smith working on his next one. There is no time to let up for the man who is determined to release 10 albums in 10 years in 10 different genres. This is the sixth in the series, so he is now more than halfway through, and this time we have been taken firmly into the pop world of the Eighties. Troy was born in 1984, the Chinese year of the Rat, and hence the album title, and yet again he has produced an album which is not only solidly within his genre of choice but also a place where he sounds so much at home.

It is hard to connect this album with the last one, which was much more of a folk-inspired release, but how to compare it against the amazing Shake That Skinny Ass All the Way to Zygertron, or the incredible The Ghost of Freddie Cesar? Last year’s Black Sea Golden Ladder was my album of the year, while Holy Colony Burning Acres is one I still often return to.The word “genius” is one that is generally massively overplayed within the music scene, but it does appear to be the only word which fits Troy as each of his albums are superb and have resulted in multiple chart hits and award success, and each one sounds like the genre he was destined to play in, right up until the next one. I have not heard his debut album, Guitar Party At Uncle’s Bach, but I do have all the others and was once lucky enough to see Troy at work in the studio, where he has an ability to not only spot what is missing but going straight back in after a playback to add those elements with ease.

The album cover screams the 80’s over polish of pop, and this album’s band (this time called The Promises) have fitted perfectly in with the theme. It is no surprise to see bassist Marika Hodgson involved yet again, as she is surely one of the very finest bassists on the circuit and has worked with him on other albums, and here she underpins the sound, linking in with drummer Treye Liu, who has to make his drums sound electronic as that was the style back then. The keyboards of Guy Harrison are wonderfully dated, both in sound and approach, and I must also mention TeMatera at the end of Authenticity and others, as his spoken word pieces are hilarious. It is interesting to note that one of the songs is a co-write with Delaney Davidson, so I presume this was discarded from the last album as not fitting in with that theme.

There is no doubt that when the awards season comes around that Troy will be grabbing another armful, not because he is a judge’s favourite but because the songs and performance are top notch. I have the double-vinyl 45 rpm version of the album, but it is available in standard vinyl, CD, cassette (strictly limited edition) or digital download. However you like to consume your music, Troy Kingi has delivered yet another masterpiece which this time around takes its cues from the likes of Human League, Depeche Mode, Talking Heads and so many more. What will the next one bring us I wonder?

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Troy Kingi

Bay of Islands-based musician/actor Troy Kingi has embarked on an eventful few years with major acting roles in Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Pa Boys, Mt Zion and The Kick, while also enjoying a successful music career. Troy Kingi was nominated for an APRA Silver Scroll last year and earned Vodafone Music Awards for Best NZ Soul Artist and Best Maori Artist in 2018. His side project, collaborative soul band L(())VE & HOPE also received rave reviews but Troy's most recent offering is his politically charged roots/reggae record, Holy Colony Burning Acres.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Troy Kingi


Black Sea Golden Ladder
Year: 2021
Type: Album
The Ghost of Freddie Cesar
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Holy Colony Burning Acres
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Guitar Party at Uncle's Bach
Year: 2016
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

On Tick - EP Review: Planet Chrome
17 Mar 2023 // by Kev Rowland
When On Tick released their debut album, Nothing New, towards the end of 2021 they were already in a state of change as it was recorded as a trio of brothers Brendan (vocals and drums) and Aidan O'Loughlin (vocals, guitar) along with bassist Matt Hammond, who also produced it, but they had now brought in Matt Perry to play bass while Matt H had moved to lead guitar. In 2023 things have changed again as Matt H is now concentrating on Pale Flag, while Matt P is also not involved any longer, so it is back to just Brendan and Aidan.
Written By Wolves - Single Review: Give 'Em Hell
16 Mar 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Written by Wolves may not have released any new material in 2022, but everyone knew the boys were working on their next album, and if you were fortunate enough to see them play then you will have already heard Give 'Em Hell as they were using this track as the opening number. In many ways this encapsulates everything which is Written By Wolves in one song – if you want to know why so many of us keep raving about them, then this will demonstrate why.
Anthony Coulter - Single Review: Younger
16 Mar 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest single from Anthony Coulter’s album Pilgrimage To the Sea, where he says he is not getting any younger, something I can really relate to given I am 60 in just a few months and certainly act a lot more than I used to. Mind you, I don’t think every day is the same, which is the same for Anthony who yearns to be younger.
BAkeR - EP Review: Eternal Now
16 Mar 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Mike Baker has been involved in both the Australian and NZ music scenes since the Eighties, running the import/export operations for Australia’s Hot Records at one point, releasing an album himself as a member of Not Really Anything and also managing Glide. Last year he created his alter ego BAkeR and started recording this five-track EP, entitled Eternal Now, with Daniel Hewson (the son of the late Paul Hewson of Dragon).
The Traditional Aliens - Album Review: What World Will You Live In
16 Mar 2023 // by Kev Rowland
I think from the cover that The Traditional Aliens inhabit a world which contains knitted female dwarves, although I could well be wrong. What World Will You Live In is both the debut and third album by the guys, who recently changed their name from Infinity following on from their 2017 self-titled debut and then 2020’s Icy Blue Planet.
Gig Review: Mi-Sex and Stellar* @ Paraoa Brewing, Whangaparaoa - 09/03/2023
09 Mar 2023 // by Kev Rowland
I had been looking forward to tonight for quite some time as here was an amazing opportunity to catch two of our most iconic bands. Mi-Sex are touring in celebration of the 40th anniversary of their debut album, Graffiti Crimes, which of course featured probably their biggest hit, Computer Games.
Sabreen Islam - EP Review: Room Service
09 Mar 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Although Sabreen Islam is young, and is currently studying at the University of Auckland, she has been involved in the arts for some time, both in music and poetry and performed at The Others Way Festival as far back as 2018. To date she has released a few singles, the most recent of which can be found here on her debut EP.
Abby Christo - Single/Video Review: Note To Self
09 Mar 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Abby Christo first came to prominence when, in 2015, she appeared on X- Factor NZ as part of duo Mae Valley who has significant success with their debut EP and played alongside country stars such as Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood and Kelsea Ballerini.Abby released her debut solo EP a few years ago and is now working on the second.
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • BOY'S A LIAR PT. 2
    PinkPantheress And Ice Spice
    Miley Cyrus
    The Weeknd And Ariana Grande
    Morgan Wallen
    RAYE feat. 070 Shake
    Coi Leray
    Harry Styles
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