16 Jul 2024

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

Ravenhall - Album Review: Live at Brebs

30 Apr 2023 // A review by Kev Rowland

Guitarist Joe Ravenhall and singer Chris Brebner formed Ravenhall back in 2015, writing more than 100 songs together before recruiting drummer Damian Hilt and bassist Alan Treanor to fill out their sound. I was a big fan of their The Coming Storm EP from 2021, so I was keen to hear the new album to see what had been happening in the intervening time, and although I had no idea quite what to expect I am sure it was not this! Joe and Chris have gone right back to basics, with their latest album Live at Brebs featuring the two of them on stools at Chris’s bar, with Chris having just a touch of reverb on his vocals and Joe accompanying him on acoustic guitar. That’s it, nothing else, but my view has always been that there is nothing purer and more honest than a singer and an acoustic instrument as there is no room to hide, and every flaw can be heard (especially when it is a live recording like this one). But get it right, and it is magical, and one can probably guess where this review is heading. 

The duo each play to their strengths, and their long working relationship is evident in that each is totally relaxed, knowing the other will always be there to provide the support they need. Chris has a great voice, which I have likened in the past to Mark Cohn and Steve Earle, and here he is being allowed to fully shine. Joe strums at some points, but for the most part he is picking, adding nuances yet never overplaying, allowing Chris to shine on his own when the time is right but being there when there is a need to add something extra. I must confess I noticed quite a few covers on here, and I am actually not sure if this is a set of covers as although this is a live recording, I don’t recognise any titles from their own releases, but they have certainly put their own stamp on everything. I am sure Peter Cox and Richard Drummie never thought King of Wishful Thinking could be turned into something so poignant and beautiful (as well as being somewhat slower), yet the set closer is simply magnificent in this style. Slowing it down, changing the tempo and attack, is a theme of this release with It Must Have Been Love also benefiting from this revised approach as the guys refuse to play it safe but make all these songs their own. This truly is a wonderful album which I have enjoyed immensely from the first time I heard it, and it just keeps getting better the more I play it.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Ravenhall

With a profound blend of passionate acoustic guitar-driven tunes and poignant storytelling, Ravenhall, hailing from the heart of New Zealand, speaks directly to the hearts of their listeners. Founding members Joe Ravenhall and Chris Brebner, both seasoned veterans of Auckland's vibrant music scene, have been collaborating for years, bringing a wealth of experience to their project. Ravenhall isn't just a band; it's a musical journey, an exploration of emotional lyricism and open-hearted melodies that drew them to music in the first place. Together, they've crafted over a hundred songs, each contributing a dynamic personality to enrich the band's distinctive sound.

Officially debuting in 2015 with the release of their single Everything To Me, Ravenhall has since expanded their signature sound through a series of singles, cultivating a devoted audience across New Zealand. In 2021, they released their EP The Coming Storm, showcasing their intricately crafted songwriting and reaching new listeners both in their home country and beyond.

Excitingly, Ravenhall is gearing up for a major milestone with the release of their much-anticipated 10-song debut album Brother, scheduled for February 9th, 2024. Their previous project, Live at Brebs Bar, a live album featuring accompanying videos, hit all digital platforms in May 2023. Ravenhall continues to push the boundaries of traditional singer/songwriter music, creating a sound that is not only wholly authentic but also entirely unique. Get ready to embark on a musical journey with Ravenhall, where every note is an invitation to connect and feel.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Ravenhall


Year: 2024
Type: Album
Live at Brebs Bar
Year: 2023
Type: Album
The Coming Storm
Year: 2021
Type: EP
Wild Hearts
Year: 2020
Type: EP
Straight Up
Year: 2018
Type: EP

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

Gig Review: Crushfest @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 07/07/2023
07 Jul 2023 // by Kev Rowland
So it was down to Tuning Fork for the first night of the second Crushfest festival. Tonight was going to be Wellington and Auckland bands, and then some of the same will be playing at the second night in Wellington next month.
Rain - Single Review: Love and War
15 Jun 2023 // by Kev Rowland
It has been quite a while since I last heard from Wellington-based singer songwriter Cathy Elizabeth, and back then Rain was seen solely as a studio project with Cathy being accompanied by Thomas Te Taite, who provided all the instrumentation including digital drums. Now they are a full band who have been performing live, and it is the first time they have recorded as such, with Thomas now, just providing acoustic guitar (plus engineering and producing etc.
Lost Vessels - Single Review: All This Time
01 Jun 2023 // by Kev Rowland
I must admit I was not that impressed when I first saw Lost Vessels play at Crushfest, something they later admitted to me was the worst gig of their career, but since then they have improved in leaps and bounds. This has been noticed by others on the Auckland circuit as they are getting more opportunities with better support slots, and I was not at all surprised when they won the Ding Dong Lounge Battle Of The Bands in November last year.
Unwanted Subject - Single Review: Sons of Savages
28 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
I have caught Unwanted Subject in concert a few times over the last couple of years, and while they have been getting better each time I have seen them, I must admit that nothing prepared me for this, which right from the off is a monster. I have never heard them quite this is aggressive, nor as polished, and this multi-sectioned single sounds almost like a different band as they have pushed their metal roots to the max in this metalcore beast which sees them mixing and blending different genres to create something quite special.
Gig Review: Stray Dogs @ AUX, Auckland - 26/05/2023
28 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
So it was back to Ding Dong Lounge on a Friday night for one of their infamous Emo nights, which tonight was a three-band bill with Stray Dogs having an extended set, supported by Altaea and then up first we had Blindr, a band new to me. Blindr are a quartet featuring Bill Caldwell (vocals, guitar), Blake Woodfield (lead guitar), Jack Power (bass), and Charlie McCracken (drums).
Gig Review: Turkey The Bird @ The Ministry of Folk, Auckland - 27/05/2023
27 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Back up to Auckland Guide Centre in Mount Eden tonight for my second consecutive gig (Sol suggested it was a turkey sandwich as I am at Vader tomorrow) to see Taranaki’s finest, Turkey The Bird at The Ministry of Folk. Before that we of course had Hoop, who are Al Baxter (vocals, guitar, harmonica, banjo, mandolin), Nick Edgar (vocals, guitar, ukulele, flute, harmonica), Emily Allen (violin, viola), Glenn Coldham (bass) while tonight Gary Hunt was filling in for drummer Rusty Knox.
This Silent Divide - Single Review: Beautiful Creature
25 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest single from Wellington-based melodic hard rock quartet This Silent Divide, entitled Beautiful Creature. I really enjoyed their Tall Stories EP, and they played a great gig at Dead Witch towards the end of last year, and this would have been recorded at about the same time.
Gig Review: Emily Rice @ Your Local Coffee Roasters, Pukekohe - 24/05/2023
24 May 2023 // by Kev Rowland
Earlier this week I had a message from Emily Rice asking me if I lived in South Auckland. When I responded I did, she asked if I would be interested in coming along to an event she was putting on in a coffee shop in Pukekohe to celebrate the release of her new single, Warenoa.
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Kendrick Lamar
    Tommy Richman
    Sabrina Carpenter
    Billie Eilish
    Sabrina Carpenter
    Teddy Swims
    Tommy Richman
    Chappell Roan
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