Ask any music fan about Dunedin, New Zealand, and they’ll likely mention one thing – the Dunedin Sound. In the ’80s, a new form of indie pop emerged that mixed jangle and psychedelic pop. Bands like The Chills and The Clean led the way, and they became internationally known. Flying Nun Records was one of the first labels to support groups with this sound, and they quickly developed into one of the most influential labels on the planet. Meanwhile, Pavement, R.E.M., The New Pornographers, and many others were inspired by what was happening on the South Island, and they later emulated this new genre into future albums.
At the same time, the city’s college radio scene exploded, and today it has paved the way for a future generation of stars. Kane Strang has emerged as a global indie sensation. Oft-kilter pop quartet Soaked Oats are one of the most unique and entertaining outfits. Meanwhile, Rubita is creating groovy, jazz and Latin-infused pop tunes. Then there are Albion Place, who in a short time have established a sizable following in the land the Maori call Aotearoa.
Only getting seriously started last year, Albion Place’s own sound has quickly evolved. Originally a rock outfit, they’ve developed into a multi-genre band. Their music combines the classic folk-rock and poetic leanings of Leonard Cohen, the mellow ’60s reggae of Bob Marley, and the funk, jazz, psychedelic, and rock concoction favored by Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Some would label the band as mad scientists. We prefer, however, to call them quiet geniuses.
“If This Is How You Feel” exemplifies cool, sensual, and groovy. An element of the Dunedin Sound is heard in the jangly guitar riffs while a UMO-esque funky, soulful psychedelia percolates throughout the track. Front man Micah Davis-Rae’s vocals, meanwhile, are soft and vulnerable, as he begs to know how someone close is doing. It’s easy to think this is another love song, which it is but in a very different way. As Davis-Rae sings:
“Regret is not infinity.
I think I’m losing track what is real.
I wind up thinking something is wrong,
So let me know if this is how it feels.”
This double-meaning approach is one Cohen use to do often, demonstrating there is much more to Albion Place’s genius.
Hear the song below. The song is also available on Bandcamp for the bargain-basement cost of “name your own price”. “If This Is How You Feel” is the second single from Albion Place’s forthcoming debut album, which is expected later in 2017.
For those in New Zealand, Albion Place will likely be heading back on tour in the summer, which includes a stop at Rhythm and Alps during the Christmas and New Year’s break. Australian fans will also get their chance to catch the lads in January, as they venture over the Ditch for the first time. Dates to be announced soon.
Albion Place are Micah Davis-Rae (vocals/guitar), Tom Kelk (bass), Hugh Fulton (synth/keyboard/vocals), and Jack Ferguson (drums). If you like what you hear, check out the band’s entire catalogue on Spotify and Bandcamp.
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