Two of my favourite records of 2015 to date unmistakeably bear a resemblance to New Zealand legends The Clean.
Which in the case of Fazerdaze isn’t particularly surprising given that Fazerdaze is Amelia Murray – who hails from New Zealand.
The Fazerdaze E.P. was actually originally released last year (through Bandcamp) and came to my attention as the song ‘Zero’ was one of the stand-out tracks on the Beech Coma label compilation ‘Vol. 3’. See what you think:
The good news is that most of the six tracks on the record are the equal of ‘Zero’ with ‘Treading Lightly’ adding an unexpected flavour of psychobilly (via the bass line) to the mix. As well as on ‘Zero’ the Clean influences are noticeable on the brilliant ‘Reel’ whilst ‘Jennifer’ is a wistful gem of dreampop. In fact the only slight disappointment is ‘Tired of Waiting’ not so much musically but only because it seems to run out of lyrical ideas half way through.
The Fazerdaze E.P. is available from the band’s Bandcamp as a download or CD.
Also taking something from the Clean are Nap Eyes who hail from Halifax – Halifax, Nova Scotia, that is. And, as with Fazerdaze, their ‘2015’ LP ‘Whine of the Mystics’ was originally released last year.
Again I reached them via a slightly circuitous route – namely a listening post at Rough Trade East in London. It’s a store I often have difficulty getting into but on my
recent summer visit I was determined to try and find something new.
The suggestion of a combination of the Clean and the Verlaines enticed me past the slightly gauche album title to listen to opening track ‘Dark Creedence’ and I was sold on that one listen alone. Here’s the official audio for the song:
The funny thing is that, whilst there are other tracks on the album that sound a bit like it, it’s a record that has a lot of depth with a pedal steel woven throughout. Second track ‘Make Something’ for example reminds me of nothing other than Edinburgh indie stalwarts Ballboy. At the other end of the sonic spectrum ‘Delerium and Persecution Paranoia’ dials up the dissonance with its grinding riff conjuring up another NZ band – the Gordons.
Elsewhere the archness of the Go-Betweens is another influence, particularly on songs like the self referential ‘The Night of the First Show’ which IS about the first ever Nap Eyes show. But the highlight of the record may well be off kilter pop song ‘No Man Needs To Care’.
It’s rare to find a record on which the highlights are so diverse but ‘Whine of the Mystics’ qualifies for that unusual honour.
Who knows if either band will ever make it to Scotland but I’ve no doubt that if they did there would be an audience here waiting and ready. In the meantime I’d urge you investigate both.
Fazerdaze photo by Nadia Reid. Nap Eyes photo by Autumn Andel.