Tom Markham | New Zealand | 03/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Verlaines' entire catalogue is worth owning, and so a detailed review is a bit pointless - just buy this. It is a lovely record.
If songwriting was modeling, Downes would have been spotted at a mall at age 13, and would have been a millionaire doing Vogue covers by 14. He's that good. This album sits about half way through his career journey from the rough, early Dunedin sound to the fairly commercial pop-rock of Over The Moon. As a result it tends to be overlooked, particularly by snobs who think everything after Bird Dog was a sell-out.
Production and musicianship is improved, and much of the experimentation and lo-fi trademarks have been replaced by extremely sweet and complex melodies. Downes sings the album in a remarkable way - high, fast paced, pitch perfect, like an opera singer doing scales, ignoring emoting and instead just riding the melodies up and down with no fear of his own voice's limitations. It is just so enjoyable to listen to him sing like that. The lyrics are still angst-ridden, but the delivery is up-beat and charming.
The songs themselves are of a very high quality, with no standouts. This is a remarkable, complete pop record from an under-appreciated genius."