Arctic Tales Divide by Andrew Keoghan

by Nick Bollinger / 18 April, 2011
Andrew Keoghan’s debut album is hook-filled and heart-meltingly melodic.
New Zealand has served up its share of singer-songwriters, maintained its quota of metallers, punched above its weight in the indie rock arena, and can boast the highest number of dub reggae groups per capita in the Western world. But how many original pop romantics can we claim?

Andrew Keoghan is that rare creature, not that the picture on the front cover of his Arctic Tales Divide quite tells you that. Clutching his violin against a starry backdrop in his slightly crumpled cream suit, the unfortunate impression is of a low-budget André Rieu.

Keoghan has classical training in violin, but the way he uses the instrument is light years away from light classics. At times he will pluck or strum it, like some high-strung rhythm guitar; elsewhere he multi-tracks long flowing harmony lines. And these are just a few of the colours he employs on his heart-meltingly melodic, hook-filled debut album. You’ll also find tuned percussion, assorted synths and samplers and the more traditional guitars, bass and drums, played by a skilled crew that includes erstwhile Tim Finn and Dave Dobbyn drummer Wayne Bell, the album’s multi-instrumentalist producer.

But although the settings are colourful and varied, the central instrument is Keoghan’s voice. When he sings it is as though all other sounds move over to make room, and he writes songs that make the most of his crooning tones. His melodies build towards choruses in which he flies effortlessly into falsetto. Sometimes he layers multiple voices, creating small choirs of himself.

What does he sing about? Love, mostly, and his quirky imagination finds some new angles on that most hackneyed of song themes. “Your eyes are wired, and in them a bright idea begins,” goes the chorus of Bright Idea, one of the album’s more upbeat tunes with its shuffling Motown feel. “Her university degree in something strange is foremost a saviour in our small talk,” he confides, against the popping bassline of the disco-ish title track.

Even a recycled title such as I Only Have Eyes for You – one of the ballads that dominate the disc – gets a fresh and complicated twist: Keoghan’s romance concerns not one couple, but two.

Keoghan has made a charming and accomplished album. What’s more, he appears to have found a musical niche that – locally, at least – he has all to himself.

ARCTIC TALES DIVIDE, Andrew Keoghan (Brave Beluga).
MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

The awards season reckons with a new world
86173 2018-01-23 00:00:00Z Television

The awards season reckons with a new world

by Diana Wichtel

A tone of anger and uplift prevailed – thanks to #MeToo and Time's Up – as the first cab of the awards season left the rank.

Read more
Jacinda Ardern broke baby news to Winston Peters over tea and sandwiches
86125 2018-01-22 08:15:08Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern broke baby news to Winston Peters o…

by RNZ

Deputy Prime Minister got a home visit by Ms Ardern to break the news of her pregnancy.

Read more
Road toll: 'Without a doubt' increase is linked to police cuts
86121 2018-01-22 07:22:48Z Social issues

Road toll: 'Without a doubt' increase is linked to…

by Emile Donovan and Tim Brown

Nearly 100 dedicated road police positions have been cut in the past five years, while the road toll rose 50 percent increase in the same period.

Read more
New Mongrel Mob app 'bloody stupid' and insensitive
86117 2018-01-22 06:57:35Z Social issues

New Mongrel Mob app 'bloody stupid' and insensitiv…

by Emma Hatton

Gang violence mediators say a Mongrel Mob-themed game is 'stupid', but its maker says he was just taking advantage of a gap in the market.

Read more
Jacinda Ardern: Government's focus turns to '300-day plan'
86114 2018-01-22 06:38:40Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern: Government's focus turns to '300-d…

by Mei Heron

Labour's caucus meets for the first time this year, with the PM saying there are still policies to be finalised for the govt's first 100 days.

Read more
New Zealanders have long loved a good ghost story
86094 2018-01-22 00:00:00Z History

New Zealanders have long loved a good ghost story

by Redmer Yska

We New Zealanders are known for being down to earth and no-nonsense, but there's a surprising number of Kiwi stories with a supernatural element.

Read more
How to avoid burnout at work
86051 2018-01-22 00:00:00Z Psychology

How to avoid burnout at work

by Marc Wilson

Taking positive steps at work will help keep weariness at bay.

Read more
A puppy-buyer's guide to getting a new dog
86100 2018-01-21 00:00:00Z Social issues

A puppy-buyer's guide to getting a new dog

by Sally Blundell

Just saying “oh, how adorable” is not all you need to do before taking on a new dog.

Read more