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Pine – Longplayer

2002, Arch Hill

Christchurch, New Zealand’s Pine have been crowd and college radio favorites over the past 3 years, crafting simple, elegant and often catchy pop hit after pop hit. After 2000’s Speeding EP, expectations nationwide have been high for their anticipated debut.

Thankfully the album is very faithful to their live sound, a nice and cheery combination of guitar, minimalist drumming (their live set entitles lead singer Stephen McCarthey donning a snare drum as the sole percussion instrument), gentle keyboard drones and wilting vocals.

McCarthey’s vocals have always been a bit of a talking point – taking on a Liam Gallagher-esque inflection. For the first time though, both keyboardist Hannah Beehre and guitarist Aaron Beehre have lent their voices to their recordings, and the results are very pleasing. The album basically expands on their previous EP – with re-recorded takes of some of their biggest successes.

‘Wanted boy’ has been beefed up with McCarthy on melodica, and Aaron’s subtle backing vocals add a level of warmth to an already great song. ‘Make way for the king’ is perhaps the albums most upbeat number – filtered vocals over a tight, short and ultra-poppy backing.

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