Album review: Bond Street Bridge, The Explorers Club Antarctica

By Graham Reid

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'The Explorers Club: Antarctica' by Bond Street Bridge.
'The Explorers Club: Antarctica' by Bond Street Bridge.

Auckland's Sam Prebble of Bond Street Bridge admits to something approaching obsession after reading about Robert Falcon Scott's fatal expedition to the South Pole in 1912.

Immersing himself in Scott's diary, books about the journey (they arrived at the South Pole to find Norwegian Roald Amundsen had beaten them) and looking at photographs of brave but doomed men in that aridly icy wasteland, he crafted a song cycle and presented it using diary readings and photos from the Alexander Turnbull Library to enhance the experience.

It was a remarkable show (they are currently on a national tour again) and this album of key songs comes with a short outline of the stories and a useful map in the cover.

This is always going to be a melancholy ride, but Prebble emphasises the foolhardy heroism as much as the human tragedy in alt-folk songs which take in Scott and Ernest Shackleton's later expedition (the latter survived) to create movingly evocative images chilled with pathos.

Obviously this is more powerful live with the readings and photos, but these spare, quiet and pointed songs cut to the quick. And the dead.

Star: 4.5/5
Verdict: History lives in a moving song cycle

- elsewhere.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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