Verdict: Needs to sound more like Autozamm
In the fine - if a little safe - local music tradition of radio-friendly rock comes the third album from Auckland-based quartet Autozamm.
The band have always been on the cusp of something bigger, but never quite managed to scale the heights of Opshop or Midnight Youth.
It starts off with a spirited hiss and a roar with the title track reminiscent of the sports-show highlights package music featuring the Foo Fighters at their chest-beating best; then there's Want It Need It, with its chugging blues riffs and smoky keys which comes on like a sleazy Stone Temple Pilots' serenade; and later, Justine, with its British-sounding angular and uppity rock influence.
Which makes 5th Degree all sound a little derivative, and it is, because there's not much here that hasn't been heard before. Yet it's solid, energetic, and pristine rock 'n' roll. It's just that it needs a more distinct identity, and, with it, more of an attitude, like the one they dish out on the boozy blues rock of All That Women and the polished and pummelling grooves of I'll Be and Days I Slept Through.
Autozamm are known for a slamming live show, which many of these songs are clearly channelled towards. But the songs that make the most impact are the tender moments, like Breathe, a lovely, swooning, and touching tune (up until the trite and predictable guitar solo, that is), and My Way, a sweet and lovelorn anthem.