, Electric Hawaii

on 4 June 2012 in Record Reviews


Electric Hawaii
9 / 10

An astonishingly accomplished debut record from an unassuming Kiwi.

From the moment Electric Hawaii kicks off, Motown drums blast out on top of a bottom-heavy bassline, becoming a perfect blend of vintage and contemporary. Opossom’s debut record is full of such pleasant surprises. It has a distinctly refreshing sound but clearly takes influences from the past without sounding derivative.

Former Mint Chicks frontman Kody Nielson has written, recorded and produced this album largely on his own. Motivated by a desire to simply start writing and playing music he enjoys listening to. To learn that Electric Hawaii was largely all down to just one person is almost insulting, such is its brilliance.

There are glimpses of Motown, jazz, ‘60s psychedelia, electronica and modern pop, all of which seamlessly intertwine with each other. Nielson draws on so many influences but at no stage does the record seem confused or muddled, the songwriting is so clear that it’s pure enjoyment.

Highlight track ‘Watchful Eye’ points to Nielson’s jazz influences which opens with a play on Miles Davis’ ‘All Blues’ (from the seminal Kind Of Blue). After the cheeky homage it launches into psychedelic rock with vocoder swirls, revisiting the opening riff throughout and six bars of unbelievably catchy guitar.

The extremely catchy ‘Getaway Tonight’ is another highlight, laden with syncopated rhythms; lyrical phrasing, instrumental layers and shows Nielson’s incredible feel for dynamics.

What really stands out listening to Opossom is the strength in the arrangements. Each instrument plays a crucial part in the make up of every song, and the use of dynamics makes every listen after the first more enjoyable.

- Gabe Andrews


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