Short cuts (35)by Nick Bollinger
Reviews of the new Trinity Roots album and Ian Jorgensen's documentation of New Zealand music.
The first studio album in 10 years from Trinity Roots borders on bombast and makes no apologies for it. In the opening song, Bully, Warren Maxwell sings to the “basher fella, basher sister” who perpetrate domestic violence, backing up his message with an ancient three-note Maori melody and a metal riff reminiscent of Black Sabbath. In title track, Citizen, he mocks the rich and soulless and mourns the distances between neighbours, while jazz pianist James Illingworth runs virtuosic rings around a slow skanking groove.
Not that political statement is new to the group, whose Home, Land and Sea addressed the foreshore and seabed debate, or that they have never mixed genres or stretched out musically before. But these new tracks are more solemn and studied than anything on the group’s two earlier studio efforts, as though the revived group – with Ben Lemi replacing original drummer Riki Gooch – are fuelled by a feeling of now or never. And the urgency is maintained in El Kaptain, a musical relative of Bob Marley’s War, in which Maxwell conjures a maritime image for an arrogant leader who won’t hear the cries of his crew. But there are reflective, soulful performances too, as in Maxwell’s bossa-tinged Clarity and Herbs-flavoured Haiku, and Lemi provides the album’s gentlest moments with two acoustic meditations: They Fall and Musings of a Cloud.
CITIZEN, Trinity Roots (Independent) •••½
A Movement is a weighty title for a weighty artefact: a 10-volume boxed set of books documenting the past decade and a half of live New Zealand music through the photographs of Ian Jorgensen. As the promoter of many local gigs, tours and events, Jorgensen was well placed to capture this multitude of moments. But a lesser eye would have missed the energy, passion and humour that radiates from these images.
A MOVEMENT 2000-2015: Photography by Ian Jorgensen (A Low Hum) ••••
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