Electric Wire Hustle
Love Can Prevail
With their self-titled 2009 debut, Wellington trio Electric Wire Hustle paid homage to the rich traditions of African-American soul, jazz, hip-hop and modern beats, while kaleidoscopically twisting motifs associated with these forms into something they could call their own. Five years on, following the departure of original drummer Myele Manzanza from the band, and having cultivated more of a personal interest in psychedelic rock and folk in that time, they return with their second album, Love Can Prevail.
Cuts such as ‘Loveless’ and ‘To See You Again’ find frontman Mara TK sliding sonorous lyrical phrases over bristling guitar riffs and bouncy synthesiser bass courtesy of keyboardist Taay Ninh, in the process building a larger world for the band to live within. Inside this larger universe, cuts like ‘By & Bye’, ‘The Spirit’ and ‘If These Are the Last Days’ see their neo-soul ventures augmented by the twirling electronics and syncopated rhythms of smart modern club music.
Successfully surviving the sophomore album is a hard task for any band, but across Love Can Prevail Electric Wire Hustle hold onto the core values that attracted their fans to them in the first place.
Eb & Sparrow
Eb & Sparrow
(Home Alone Music)
Born out of heartbreak, the Eb & Sparrow alt-country project has been expanded over the last four years by lead vocalist/guitarist Ebony Lamb into a richly ornate five-piece band experience. Hedging trumpet, harmonica, lap-steel and multi-part vocal harmonies against the traditional country/rock/folk configuration of drums, bass and guitar, the ten songs on Eb & Sparrow’s debut album are rooted in yearning for earlier — supposedly more simplistic — times. Call it a cycle of love songs for the days before Facebook and smartphones perhaps. With a whiskey-warm voice and the emotional heft of someone singing from experience, Ebony sells it well.
French For Rabbits
(Lefse Records/Home Alone Music)
Wellington dream pop duo French For Rabbits’ story is one of persistence: two determined musicians who, song by song and show by show, have earned themselves a small yet growing global audience. With their debut album Spirits, they present richly resonant songs that place a premium on smouldering instrumental melodies and translucent but memorable voice. Channelling a similar vocal quality to Laura Marling or Daughter, front-woman Brooke Singer lets her delicate but headstrong voice flutter against the naturalistic interweaving of guitar and keyboards she creates with her foil John Fitzgerald. Powerful rhythms pound in the background and, suddenly, everything is right with the world.
Low Fidelity Electronic Music
(Epic Sweep Records)
Made up of six long pieces defined by heft, distortion and hypnotism, Low Fidelity Electronic Music is the most recent album release from Plimmerton-based electronic music composer Rory Noble. Recorded earlier in the year, while Rory was recovering from the flu and blocked ears, it’s an abrasive listen, which while rough around the edges reveals more with every rotation.