At a crucial point in the lovely Auckland-located ballad These Are The Days - the mood drops, hooking you with intimacy - and Kurt Shanks speak-sings, "No, I don't desire any sales pitch today ... ".
It goes down like a wooden wonton, and unfortunately such lyrics - cliches like "mind over matter", or "girl, we fit like a glove" in the otherwise lovely Honey Love - haul this otherwise promising debut back a few notches.
Shanks, who can write effortless melodies like Greg Johnson (15 Years, We Shall Have Another Day), here mostly has two operating systems: heartfelt and emotionally naked ballads (15 Years, the apologetic and self-questioning sentiments of Leaving); and bristling Bowie-glam-rock (The Real You) or post-New Wave (the furiously angry Shoot to Kill, a real high-point, like the Only Ones on speed). Most interesting future pointers are the closers: the intense Port Song and brooding Future to My History.
As a debut there's much Shanks should feel pleased about - furious guitar rock or alt.folk delivered with passion by compadres Andrew Thorne (guitars), Wayne Bell (drums), Mark Hughes (bass) and guests - but for outsiders this occasionally delivers unexpectedly wooden wontons.
Verdict: Promising debut by former Stellar bassist stumbles for want of editing.
Buy a copy of Kurt Shanks' Blood Line Heart here.
- TimeOut / elsewhere.co.nz