Three years ago Anthonie Tonnon released Up Here For Dancing. Back then the ex-Dunedinite was operating under the name Tono and the Finance Company, but the name change doesn't really indicate much more than a streamlining of identity.

Successor is still an album mostly recorded by a band, still combines adventurous guitar sounds and keen drumming with elegant melodies and winsome lyrical ideas, and is still one of the most memorable albums you'll hear this year. Just as he did with songs like Marion Bates Realty (which seems even more incisive three years on), on Successor he still takes current social issues, news stories, personal anecdotes, and combines them with a strong literary interest and a wry perspective to create a surprisingly rocking album of poetic investigative journalism stories.

As a part-time radio and print journalist himself, Tonnon has successfully turned his fascinations with the stories of others into masterful musical miniatures. The songs may have unusual structure, but they each have a well-crafted arc and an emotional resonance. And often that's due to his distinctive croon - Tonnon's voice has benefited from months of touring in the US and has a truthful strength.

The Songs Of Your Youth is triumphant, Water Underground is groovily cynical, and Bird Brains takes the Flying Nun sound and twists it in a new direction.

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It's rare to hear an album so singular, and yet so engaging.

Verdict:

Lyrical, musical, investigative journalism.

Artist: Anthonie Tonnon
Album: Successor
Label: Independent

- TimeOut