After his self-described dark rock-noir Edge of the City two years ago, this album sometimes feels comfortable accepting happiness and domesticity are valuable source material too. Honeysuckle Love is fun, Summer in the City celebrates an empty Auckland in January and, over a brittle beat on the opener, Nobody, Fleming exercises a soul-styled falsetto. Broken Lights, New Mexico is one of his most affecting ballads, backing vocals by The Bads' Dianne Swann making it even more bittersweet and romantic. There's observational seriousness here too: Sleepless Kid is a troubled child feeling responsible for repairing the damage parents are inflicting on each other.
Fleming turns his eye on middle-class urban life in the 21st century on Working Poor, and there's a brooding observation of people on the street and the narrator's own internal life on Jaywalkers.
Some might find Fleming's vocal range narrow over these 11 songs.
The Good, in other hands, might have been much more joyously aligned to the backing vocals.
The standouts are Cities in the Distance - the Fleming of earlier days - which suddenly, when the excellent band kicks in, sears with menace, and the expansive closer, Winter Sun.
It's a come back/move on/greet the new day song, themes discreetly underscored throughout.
Auckland singer-songwriter celebrates and analyses
- TimeOut / elsewhere.co.nz