The Sampler: Tears For Fears, Benny Salvador, Blair Parkes


Tony Stamp inspects the first album in 18 several years from British isles synth-pop heavyweights Tears For Fears, an acid jazz-tinged EP by teenage Wellington producer Benny Salvador, and the latest extensive-participant from tremendous-prolific Christchurch fuzz-pop maestro Blair Parkes.

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The Tipping Stage by Tears For Fears

Tears For Fears (Curt Smith & Roland Orzabal)

Tears For Fears (Curt Smith & Roland Orzabal)
Image: Frank-Ockenfels

In the heyday of audio tv, the British pop outfit Tears For Fears loomed big. Looking back, it is interesting to take note that’s largely many thanks to just a couple music. They are a person of individuals bands that I appreciated as a small baby, and inspite of the pomposity I’ve come to affiliate with songs like ‘Shout’ and ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’, I have a fondness for their tunes that resides in my bones.

They’ve just introduced a seventh album – their initially in eighteen several years. It was brought on in section by tragedy, but also by the band simply seeking to preserve existing, and not rest on their laurels. It reveals they have not shed their knack for grandeur or memorable pop hooks.  

For a when Tears For Fears had just 1 member – Roland Orzabal ongoing below the title as a solo project, following he and Curt Smith experienced an acrimonious split. Likely back again to search at some of the items Orzabal claimed about Smith in the press, it’s astounding they acquired back again with each other at all, but in 2004 put out Every person Enjoys A Happy Ending.  

They’ve recognised every single other considering the fact that they had been young adults in the 1970s, and looking through some of the points they say about just about every other now (both of those at the age of 60) is very touching. 

In 2014 they released a trio of include versions of tracks initially by Arcade Fire, Animal Collective and Warm Chip – a indicator that they experienced an eye on younger bands, and that they required to continue to be suitable.

Their management required the identical and paired them up with a series of youthful pop writers in the periods for this album. It was, according to Orzabal, an try to bring them “kicking and screaming into the contemporary world”.

In excess of time the pair grew to dislike people tracks, which they say felt like “tries at strike singles”. So they changed history label, modified administration, and wrote a bunch of new tunes.

In 2017 Roland Orzabal dropped his spouse of 35 decades, Caroline. Her loss of life inspired the title monitor of this album The Tipping Point, and even though Orzabal and Smith experienced currently reconciled, the tragedy brought them closer jointly. Curt experienced also been superior buddies with her.

They’re equally open up about working with these feelings in crafting the album, but a aspect outcome according to Orzabal was increased cultural consciousness. He stated, “The trauma of shedding your spouse would make you raw. And in that rawness, I surely begun to get a feeling of what was heading on culturally”.

To that conclude, there are references right here to Black Life Make a difference, the patriarchy and authorities surveillance.

Musically, it was when the pair sat down with two acoustic guitars that they experienced the album’s innovative epiphany. The track they wrote, ‘No Tiny Thing’, begins like a people ballad right before the trademark Tears For Fears pomp requires around.

The a person collaboration that survived those early sessions is the observe ‘My Demons’, co-penned by Sacha Skarbeck, who’s also published with Miley Cyrus and Adele. This is astonishing for the reason that it is the track that feels the most dated – beginning like the Health care provider Who topic, and continuing in an unbridled way that feels cliched, but legitimate at the exact same time.

In researching this evaluate, I found Tears For Fears were a a lot a lot more interesting band than I’d ever realised. For example, I did not know the lyrics on their very first albums ended up influenced by the psychologist Arthur Janov, whose ‘primal therapy’ gave the band its title. His most popular affected person was John Lennon. 

Not coincidentally, there is a lyric below about currently being ‘between The Beatles and The Stones’, and in terms of legacy, that may well be overselling it. The Tipping Stage unquestionably sags about midway by way of, but most of its songs are fantastic electro-pop figures. I’m absolutely biassed, but I’m also pleasantly surprised that my childhood favourites launched one thing this superior in excess of 30 yrs soon after their heyday. 

Relatives Fruit by Benny Salvador

Benny Salvador

Benny Salvador
Image: provided

A couple years back some of the new music fiends I observe on social media started loudly hailing the expertise of a teenage Wellington producer building his spin on Detroit techno. Seeking at the credits of his debut EP, there ended up some acquainted names, like saxophonist Lucien Johnson, drummer Riki Gooch, and mixing courtesy of Mu from Fats Freddy’s Fall.

Eventually, I figured out that this producer, Benny Salvador, is the son of Joe ‘Hopepa’ Lindsay from Excess fat Freddy’s, and whilst there is undoubtedly something to be claimed for getting some of the country’s most gifted musicians at your disposal, it’s also obvious that a sense of musical innovation runs in the family members.

Rejoining Benny on this new EP Relatives Fruit are Riki Gooch on drums and Lucien Johnson on sax, together with Phoenix Foundation’s Will Ricketts on vibraphone, and Sam Lindsay, who plays with Joe Lindsay in The Yoots. Sam is Benny’s uncle, but all the players here are credited as ‘uncle’, apart from a person that just claims ‘dad’.

Bass is break up in between father and Gooch, so I’m not positive which is supplying the slap groove on the track ‘Duck Rice’, but it is undoubtedly delicious. 

And tasty is the name of the video game in this article – every single tune is named following a foodstuff, although that rule will get hazy, like the opener ‘A Bunch of Eggs’. I questioned if that could be an affectionate phrase for the folks doing. 

Benny’s second EP is termed Alter of Depth, and on that one particular, he’s the only musician. It is a stripped-again set with a techno palette and a trace of jazz. 

Paired with these musicians on his third, that 2nd factor comes to the fore. On ‘Laksa 1 & 2’, Gooch’s nimble drumming delivers to intellect the way area artists like The New Loungehead paired acid jazz with drum n bass when that style was in its ascendence. 

Household Fruit is exclusively explained as ‘a condensation of lockdown jams recorded at dwelling throughout 2020 & 2021’. Benny is credited with synths, flute, and drum equipment, but I bet he did a whole lot of enhancing too, cherry-picking the most effective times. 

The title is a cheeky acknowledgement of spouse and children as nicely as food, and the presence of all these uncles pairs nicely with the name of Benny Salvador’s label Aunty Information

But the EP’s principal power is its perception of spontaneity and exploration. The ultimate observe ‘Schnauzy’ turns to krautrock for inspiration, and I like that a few EPs in, Benny retains hoping his hand at different genres, investing them all with his certain feeling of enjoyment.  

In excess of Bored by Blair Parkes

Blair Parkes

Blair Parkes
Photograph: equipped

Delving into the catalogue of Christchurch musician Blair Parkes is a downright scary prospect. He’s been putting out music in many bands considering that the late eighties, and sporadic solo releases because the nineties. He’s even composed a guide about songwriting.

Following a time period of creating electro-pop in the 2000s, and then embracing experimental functions, he returned to the bosom of indie rock: which is very good information for enthusiasts of fuzzed-out, melodic guitar pop. 

When Blair Parkes appeared on NZ Live in 2019 his catalogue shown 38 singles, EPs and albums, and there have been nine extra because then. The bio on his Bandcamp site lists 13 bands he’s been in.

The initially of individuals was All Drop Down, his substantial faculty outfit, who were being signed to Traveling Nun, and launched 1 EP right before disbanding. 

Parkes undoubtedly would seem like a restless soul musically, but he keeps coming back to petite pop hooks. ‘Overboard’ has a feeling of grandeur and a whiff of Britpop, but tracks like ‘No Plans’ sense like typical Traveling Nun to me – sweet, but smudged with a healthful layer of fuzz. 

Regardless of his diverse again catalogue, Parks has stored the exact collaborators due to the fact his 2019 album Liveable City – Miss Mercury on vocals, and Ryan Fisherman (himself a wonderful singer-songwriter) on drums. In 2020 Marcus Thomas joined on bass, and on this album, they seem particularly locked-in, a good basis for all all those catchy times.

I was speaking to a musician not long ago who tends to make a stage of leaving any imperfections in their audio, as opposed to correcting them digitally – I know a good deal of dwell players really feel this way, and I suspect Parkes does way too. 

‘Time Stopped’ has a bit of swagger to it, and some 50s harmonies, but I appreciate the way Parkes and Skip Mercury’s vocals aren’t thoroughly in sync. There is a pleasurable volume of dissonance that reminds you these are true men and women.

In 1995 Traveling Nun unveiled a compilation known as Abbasolutely, which showcased their roster covering Abba tracks. It confirmed that less than the fuzz and lower fidelity, the Swedish pop tunes weren’t that unique to the types the Nun bands were crafting.

This album definitely falls into that class. Blair Parkes is producing songs as fantastic as any in his 30+ year job, all of them fairly really, and imbued with a sense of vulnerability beneath the noisy veneer.  

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