Key Points:


Elixir Always

(Pastel Pistol)


Herald Rating:

* * * *


Rock'n'roll you can dance to is elixir of life on Aucklanders' debut

There hasn't been a New Zealand release in a while that spits and kicks out of its skin like Auckland's Collapsing Cities' debut

Elixir Always

. They are self-confessed creators of rock'n'roll you can dance to, but there's a ruthless side that comes through on opening track

In the Valley


, which builds from a steely, stripped-back start to a frenzied and militant end, and the sniping

All Your Friends Are Rats

, with its brutal opinion on those who are too cool for school.

Singer and songwriter Steve Mathieson has a voice that's often droll and drab but can turn wild and jagged in an instant, like on Rats when he seethes, "All your friends are rats, they smile through their teeth, they belong in the sewers because they talk down to others ..." They might sound angry but it's just CC's deliciously dry sense of humour - "I told my boss I hate him at the Christmas party," he offers on

Fear Of Opening My Mouth

- and musically songs like


have an irresistible, arse-shaking jangly groove to them.

Then again it also conjures up memories of oddball local bands like Snapper and early Headless Chickens when they were at their intimidating best.

It's noisy, at times naughty and nasty, but always danceable.