Regain the Lost Conversation
A Sarang Bang Compilation
This is a rather peculiar compilation from an obscure New Zealand label that features mostly little-known New Zealand bands and a handful of North American groups, as well. The CD opens with “Chipping Away,” a nice, folky pop song by one of New Zealand’s most well-known artists, David Kilgour of the Clean and solo fame. The next track, by Remote Controls, is an instrumental that suggests old Pink Floyd filtered through the Soft Boys. The Landing offer an excellent cover of Love’s “The Red Telephone,” which would have made a welcome addition to the Love tribute album We’re All Normal and We Want Our Freedom , released in ‘94. The track by Moon Popper sounds like what might happen if Oasis collaborated with Spiritualized. The CD’s most surprising contribution, a bittersweet acoustic track called “Girl at Night,” comes from Dump, Yo La Tengo bassist James McNew’s side project.
The bands on the compilation that sound the most promising are Brooklyn’s Red Soda and New Zealand’s Alpha Plan. Red Soda’s “Try Not to Hide” sounds surprisingly at home on a New Zealand-based compilation. The group’s dynamic, melodic sound seems to be equally informed by the guitar-noise vocabulary of Sonic Youth and the pop-craft of the Church. Alpha Plan could very well become New Zealand’s next big thing. “Estuary,” taken from their most recent EP, is classic, moody New Zealand pop. They have drawn favorable comparisons to well-respected NZ groups like Bailter Space and the Clean, and I look forward to hearing their next full-length release. Other tunes on this compilation range from kitschy, organ-driven instrumentals to experimental, noise-for-its-own-sake collages. Overall, this is one of the most unique and satisfying compilations I’ve come across in a while.
Sarang Bang Records, P.O. Box 6862, Wellesley Street, Auckland, New Zealand