21 Mar 2023

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Stewart Pedley - EP Review: Charlie Watts' Shaving Kit

17 Dec 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

There is no doubt that one of the top producers in Aotearoa is the marvellous Dave Rhodes, so when he makes contact to let people know about a project he has just been working on as he is so impressed, then everyone is going to sit up and take notice. Based in Coromandel, Stewart Pedley performs as half of the Brazilian-Kiwi duo Let’s Go Descarrego! and in the punk-rock band Corrosive Moses. The other half of Let’s Go Descarrego! is Leo Magri and he performs on all four tracks on this EP with other musicians and backing singers being added where necessary, with Stewart providing all lead vocals, plus guitars, bass, mandolin and backing vocals, thus creating the group Stewart Pedley & The Sinners. What we have here is a collection of songs with a nice early 80's vibe, from a proper old-fashioned songwriter who does what he wants and doesn’t necessarily fit into any particular box.

We kick off with the electric guitar driven power punk number To Be A Man, which both sets the tone for the EP and also destroys it as this is the only song like it on here! It is punchy, powerful, with hints to the American pop punk scene but with gritty vocals and loads of space within the arrangement. It is a song which cries out to be played live as it is blasting fun from beginning to end. I fully expected the rest of the songs to be like this, so was somewhat surprised when Ana commenced in a far more reflective manner, albeit still with electric guitar and some lovely bass runs. Here they have been joined by Heather Bolton on keyboards who assisted with some nice held-down keyboards, and just when I felt I could see what was happening the vocals changed inflection after 50 seconds, the guitars started riffing and we were off. Vocally there is not much change in the second verse, but the music is now driving, so they come across quite differently, and the song ends with loads of feedback after the poignant words Ana, this grief is a stone.

It is the third song which could be the breakthrough for Stewart, Phone Call To My Dad At Xmas. He is more talking then singing, and it really sounds as if it is a one-sided conversation, and the trumpets and delivery did remind me of Stop The Cavalry, which was a rather unusual release for Jona Lewie which became recognised as a classic. We hear about the kids playing in the sun, asking if it is night time in Ireland, Christmas lights and so much more, and it ends with Stewart singing gently, accompanied by his acoustic, telling his dad he loves him and wishing him Merry Christmas. The final song, This One’s For The Winos, The Working Girls, The Lovers, And The Crowds Passing By is sat in the blues with some nice brass as accompaniment.

This EP is a delight, from someone who is doing just what he wants as opposed to following any crowd and is all the better for it. Punk, indie, totally out of left field, if this was 45 years ago then Stewart would have found a home on Stiff Records, and rightly so.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Stewart Pedley

"Eclectic in style" is a good way to describe the music of Stewart Pedley. Over the course of 30 or so years of performing, he has drawn from a wide range of influences - from rock to folk, to New Orleans groove, to blues and punk and jazz - and has thrown them together to form a distinctive voice in songwriting. Front and centre of his music, always, is an attention to lyrics and a knack for good storytelling.

Stewart is based in Coromandel, New Zealand, and performs solo, as half of the Brazilian-Kiwi duo Let’s Go Descarrego!, and in the punk-rock band Corrosive Moses. He has recently released an EP by Stewart Pedley & The Sinners, titled Charlie Watts’ Shaving Kit. In 2014 he won the Best Original Song Competition.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Stewart Pedley


Charlie Watts' Shaving Kit
Year: 2022
Type: EP

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