Dunedin, New Zealand has a long history of adventurous, experimental pop/folk-infused rock and roll, going back to the early ‘80s; it even has its own name "the Dunedin sound" giving us bands like The Chills, The Clean, The Verlaines, along with more fried rootsiness from artists like Alistair Galbraith and Peter Jefferies.
Dunedin's Falconets are keeping the tradition alive with this short EP The Birth comprised of six songs of twanging acoustic guitars, bouncing African rhythms and fuzzy electronics.
The Falconets would do well to focus more on the "experimental" or "adventurous" aspects of their sound, like the brief, shimmering Atari soundscapes of the album opener "Forethought #3" with its rainbow organs and distant vocals, which sound glorious against the earthiness of "Goodbye For Now," which departs the Southern Hemisphere for the Cape Of Good Hope, sounding like a rather good Paul Simon outtake as covered by Yeasayer.
The Falconets drop the experimental, electronic globe trotting with "No One Can Do It Better Than You," which features that glassine, strummy acoustic guitar sound wielded by John Mayer, David Gray and Dave Matthews in the late '90s and early '00s that acts as sand in the lubricant, which seriously, seriously chafes.
It's a brief misstep, which almost ruins things for me, no matter how much clever filtering is used in the beginning, as I cannot and will not endorse this bland, strumming folk lite and it almost obscures how damn good nearly every other aspect of this recording is.
The guitars are killer and soulful, ranging from an economic rhythm to soaring, flying-finger lead, while the drums are tight and popping, wrapping around the steel strings like a popcorn air popper.
My advice for Falconets would be to look more towards the future than the past, and to investigate the rich, sonic exploration of their own island, and to stay far, far, far away from any whiteboy hippy allegiances (except for Phish or The Grateful Dead, both of whom are awesome.) Don't be deterred from checking out the wonders this EP has to offer, however, as the sweets are like golden honey.
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