This debut album from 3-year-old Auckland trio Coach is hard to define. Dark folk pop, with interludes of heavier rock, jazz-like notions, crooning vocal harmonies, washes of falsetto, all settled over double bass and drums, with chiming electric guitar winding across the varied terrain.

The nine tracks present mostly autumnal, gothic qualities, but occasionally there are shards of sunlight - as in I Have Two Shadows, which has a lovely dream pop sound fuelled by soaring falsetto harmonies. There's even a touch of The Smiths about it.

But unfortunately there's not enough of that light, subtle touch. Title track Family Tree has a cool trip-hop, almost-funk quality that doesn't quite sit with the heavy ringing guitar chords and power-rock-ish electric guitar solo.

Still Warm has some of the best interactions between bass, drums and guitar on the album, and shows just how well they can work as a trio, though the song is weighed down by turning into a heavy-handed, lumbering rock track at points.


Vocalist Abe Kunin has a wide vocal range and solid delivery - he goes from husky swamp-style bluesman to high, psychedelic, rock-opera, sometimes even within one song as on Can't Hide. But the emotional connection gets a little lost in the transition between styles. There's talent, they just need a direction.

Stars: 3/5
Verdict: Heavy rock with nice dream-pop ideas ends up confused.

- Timeout