The Close Readers / Group Hug

Close_Readers

Close_Readers

Next to Avalanche City, this must be this year’s best little indi release. A mix of familiar, yet angular tunes, hints of a country twang and a heavy peppering of strummy, jangly Nun styled ‘80s guitar. This album feels closer to an obsession than a night project for main man Damian Wilkins. Wilkins is pretty elusive online about his reasons for this material but it still touches nerves raw and sweet. He writes with mixed emotions on “Iris Dement”, which I’m guessing is about his lil’ girl moving into her own bed (although it reads like a secret evil that we do not speak of). The crimes of a former psychiatric hospital (Lake Alice) provide a surprisingly upbeat critique, confirming what we all suspected: that Janet Frame was tortured on site and there really is no lake at this location. The ghosts of Neil Young and Sneaky feelings compete for aural real estate in many of these tunes. And more so in Elton John, a good slap in the face of cover bands with little creativity choice in their repertoire. With issues as varied as sneaking girlfriends into bedrooms to bipolarism and stage diving Wilkins knows how to make you sit up and take notice, and listen again, and again, and again.

Published in NZ Musician – July 2011

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Esoligh / A part of my whole life

esoligh

esoligh

Tossing together elements as diverse as tai chi, yoga, meditation, underground freestyle, original samples and a splash of te reo North Shore resident David Patterson (AKA Esoligh) is about as mixed as a market day stir fry. This little sample of fresh ‘n’ crunchy tunes pays homage to 80’s funk and whilst dothing cloth to the production of Will.I.am, the mana of Upper Hutt Posse and groove of Pops Cool Love. Hey Hey Hey and the beautifully retro twee My Whole Life are giggle inducing slices of everyday drudge wrapped in cool ambition. With reference to leaf blowing council worker MC’s and some cute lines (“I’m tripping over my beat and some other things….”) my faith in the delicious irony hip hop can provide is slowly being restored. Growth Process has a nice and sinister dark drop and some oddly appropriate lone wolf pipes drifting through it. With guests from various crew and soul sisters Esoligh is the smarted class clown since Tourettes spat and cursed his way onstage. If the man’s this good with a home kit and a Warehouse microphone, then watch what he can in a real studio!