Lydia Jenkin

Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Album review: Whale Rocket - Cool Rainbows

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Whale Rocket by Cool Rainbows. Photo / Supplied
Whale Rocket by Cool Rainbows. Photo / Supplied

The most immediate thought that springs to mind on hearing the opening track from Whale Rocket, Southern Summer Sun, is the Phoenix Foundation's soundtrack for Eagle vs Shark.

Not because Djeisan Suskov's much-anticipated debut album is imitating the Foundation's sound, but because it has the same gentle, hippie, psychedelic, surf-rock haze as that movie and its soundtrack. And it's lovely.

Suskov has spent several years cultivating this low-key, groovy, pop collection, and his careful consideration shines through. The tracks are layered, but not overloaded, the comforting fuzzy mistiness often clearing to reveal a lovely organ riff, or bassline.

There's a touch of nostalgia in some of the 80s synth sounds and electronic aspects, but the thoughtful, dreamer lyrics and different facets of Suskov's vocal character (the subtle contrast between his more strident delivery on the swaying Tidal Wave, and the melancholy drifting depth of Pauly for instance) reward repeat listens.

Southern Summer Sun is a highlight with its nicely train-chugging drum line and balmy guitar noodling, and Reality And A Clue is likely the most straight up toe-tapping, guitar-pop song.

The shifting rhythmic patterns, almost hip-hop-esque drums and duelling female vocals on Forty-Two make for a beautiful collision, and the upbeat yet wistful Let's Just Be Together has all the right qualities to be an indie couple's anthem.

Stars: 4/5
Verdict: Thoughtful local alt-pop with low-key shimmer


- NZ Herald

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