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Opossom - Electric Hawaii

Nielsen has indeed affirmed his status as a marvellous and quirky solo musician.

It’s rather strange and unprecedented that, following the Mint Chicks’ disbandment, the two solo Nielsen brothers have both launched head-on, bare-faced towards psychedelic pop. For New Zealand’s Opossom – the feral alter-ego of Kody, whose brother Ruban fronts Unknown Mortal Orchestra – has also fashioned a woozy fusion of acid-pop and psych, inspired as much by Panda Bear as by Van Dyke Parks and the Byrds.

Potent drum sound aside, there are no remnants of the Chicks’ primitive punk rock on ‘Electric Hawaii’; in its place, the opening three songs smack us around the face with simply yet pristinely produced pop. ‘Girl’ is a clear-cut love-story with Shins-esque harmonies, whilst the paranormal haze of ‘Fly’, underpinned by an almost fancifully octave-straddling bass riff, highlights guest Bic Runga’s beautifully delicate vocal echoes. Meanwhile, catchy single ‘Blue Meanies’ floats around us like some sort of infectious miasma with its unbelievable bass groove and contagious, auto-tuned chorus. How did one feller manage to concoct such a complete and multifaceted sound?

The album is a perfect length at 30 minutes only: there’s no meandering filler. ‘Getaway Tonight’, which embodies high-speed beats and playful vocals, somehow creates the effect of each component impatiently trying to escape the layer beneath, whilst on ‘Why Why’, an effective, dissonant riff makes way for a bellowing, sing-along chorus. Whilst the album does lull a little on the curt, directionless ‘Outer Space’, it doesn’t tire at all. Nielsen has indeed affirmed his status as a marvellous and quirky solo musician.

Tags: Reviews, Album Reviews

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