(Herald rating: * * * * * )

This is Auckland singer-songwriter Lind's first album of new material since the excellent Stations of about seven years ago.

One of our most consistently literate yet most affecting lyricists, Lind owes much to the school of Texas storytellers but also brings his own astute local observations. There's humanity and compassion in these songs, which are often deeply personal but embrace universal truths.


With brittle guitar and keyboards where required, this refined material gets the setting it deserves. There's a penetrating anecdotal insight about faith in Picasso Visits Matisse and a bitter attack on the superficiality of models and magazines that engage in poverty-chic in Big Trouble. Northland Run has a brooding, James McMurtry feel about its celebration of beauty, and Love You Even More is a nakedly beautiful yet unsentimental letter of love from a parent to a child.

He also takes a poke at himself on A Bad Song Everyday, which ends: "These days the songs come slower at a more middle-aged pace, and I hope that in time these songs and I will grow old with grace." Don't doubt it.

Label: Someone Up There