Sunday, March 01, 2009


New Zealanders have got so good at turning out lo-fi Californian pop gems it’s basically got to the point of bragging. There’s no other way to put it. When James Milne quit the Brunettes and the Ruby Suns to focus on his own bands, the Reduction Agents and Lawrence Arabia, you could have guessed they’d release albums of delicate, intricate pop with a PhD in mad hooks, and then they did. When he moved to London to wrestle with “difficult second album syndrome” (AKA DSAD, look it up it’s MEDICAL), you could have guessed that those life experiences would result in a sophomore album full of world-weary self awareness and seriously classy songwriting. And hey, guess what?

I don’t know yet if Chant Darling is a “modern pop masterpiece” like some have said, but if it isn’t, then album number three will be.

What this definitely is is an album where everything working perfectly – the subtle choral touches, the wry, captivating lyrics, the lush instrumentation. It’s not often you hear a record with such commonplace influences (the pop of the early 60s and late 70s) that never sounds obvious or derivative. Chant Darling's been out for all of nine days so obvs it's way too early to start making calls like “CLASSIC” or “BEST OF ‘09”. But it could be.

[Lawrence Arabia MySpace]

[Buy Chant Darling from Mistletone]

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