Monday, December 24, 2007

Warm Hand
(Arch Hill)

Best known for his work with seminal New Zealand band the Mutton Birds, singer-songwriter McGlashan finally delivers his debut solo album. A record of shimmering guitars, deep instrumentation and thoughtful lyricism, Warm Hand is a potent statement of artistic intent.
With music drawn from various sources, from the Beatles, Neil Young and 70s Californian rock, Pink Floyd, sophisticated 80s jazz-pop, early 90s British shoe gazers, film scores, McGlashan and his crack band provide a wondrously diverse musical palette from which McGlashan concocts his wide-eyed stories and tall tales.
The opening “This Is London” is a great beginning as it recalls Let It Be-era Beatles – with its shining chorus, as McGlashan pays tribute to “the city of his birth.” “Toy Factory Fire” is exactly that, a tragic country ballad that remembers the Kader Toy Factory fire as McGlashan intones, “And the familes from the countryside come to take their daughters back.”
The rest of Warm Hand maintains this quality of combining heartfelt and pointed lyrics with equally emotional soundtracks.
The driving and breezy “Harbour Bridge” describes a prominent landmark in colourful language – “Why are you so gray?”, the ominous “Courier” details the experience of a drug smuggler, the epic “Miracle Sun” exults the dolphin & the melancholic “Queen of the Night” weaves the account of a ship’s carpenter whose idyll time in paradise has come to a close.
Fans of the resurgent singer-songwriter genre must add Warm Hand to their burgeoning collection. A

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