Fazerdaze - Morningside

by Warwick Stubbs Rating:8 Release Date:2017-05-05

You know there’s something right about music when you are writing another band’s review and some random line from one of the other review bands on your list gets stuck in your head, you don’t know what song it is, and you really don’t mind at all.

Fazerdaze is a nice change of pace for this fellow New Zealander – Dream Pop replacing the Rock and Metal I usually diet on and released on New Zealand’s very own iconic Flying Nun label. Considering I’ve been listening to the heavy but occasionally psychedelic sludge metal of Kylesa’s sixth and seventh albums a lot lately, hearing such an accomplished first album feel so gentle and breezy is a breath of fresh air. Fazerdaze – Amelia Murray – is already making waves across the globe and live performances are being praised and sought after. The confidence shows in every aspect on this independently written, produced and recorded album – unabashed simplicity engulfing the listener, but never overpowering.

First song ‘Last to Sleep’ has some lineage coming down from The Cars with its processed beat, simplistic guitar backing, and thin keyboard figure, but vocals are all dreamy reverb and calm. This calm turns to pure indie pop with the breakout hit ‘Lucky Girl’ – delay filling up all those spaces the short verse phrases leave until vocalist Amelia Murray reiterates the point in the chorus “I know I’m a luck girl, I know I’m a lucky girl …” herself. Such a simple song reminds me of all those famous New Zealand 80s Dunedin bands, but here it sits so perfectly in a modern context birthed straight out of the Indie world itself without any true punk precedent.

On the simple three minute slice of dream pop ‘Shoulders’ Murray sings “I’m trying not to try so hard for you”. The song takes this mantra to heart and refuses to elaborate, musically or lyrically – the verses themselves rarely take the theme any further. Most of the album is like this with only the catchy pop single standing out with it’s repetitive chant and upbeat tempo – it’s like love on cocaine for a shoegazing minstrel. Other songs hint at feelings, describe emotions in the simplest of terms, add rhythmic drive in minimal detail, clean guitar leads, the occasional vocal swooning high above the music like wisps of thin cloud.

The final song ‘In My Room’ has a simple guitar hook that is reminiscent of the beauty of Coldplay’s first album, but the music is never filled with as much pathos. Murray’s lyrics skirt the world of love in relationships whether that’s friendship or romantic partners – nothing is clear, but it’s always relatable. “I like the way you talk about yourself as if you’re someone else, I like the way you smile when you’re so proud of something you did yourself” only to flip this kind of devotion around with “I hate the way you talk about me to your friends” (‘Misread’). ‘Jennifer’ is a touching tale of teenage friendship reminding me at moments of Modest Mouse’s ‘Gravity Rides Everything’.

Listening to Morningside is like having the door to a house opened for you, casually strolling in and taking your own time to find a comfortable couch to lie back and relax in.

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