Anthonie Tonnon could be considered a musical journalist of sorts. That is to say, rather than report on music, he reports through music. The majority of the nine pop and rock ballads that constitute the Auckland-based songwriters’ second album read like dispatches from the suburban frontline, a collection of glossy inches depicting the fallout and consequence of real human-interest stories.
First single, ‘Water Underground’ is a magnificent example. Set against a slow-burning rock rhythm, which builds to a crescendo of purposeful drums and guitar, it’s ultimately an account of local body politics, apathy and manipulation. All told in an engaging second person narrative that grabs the listener by the puppy-scruff and pulls them into the story. Tonnon’s lyrics demand your attention and seemingly ask you for a verdict. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? You decide. It’s an engaging technique that Tonnon uses throughout the record to powerful effect.
Musically, Successor is a markedly bright, dynamic and varied record. The familiar Dunedin sound of bright guitars and half-spoken vocals on 'Mt Cargill' shouldn’t really find a home alongside the punchy new wave beats of ‘Railway Lines’ or the lo-fi vocals and shadowy guitar of ‘A Friend From Argentina’, but Tonnon’s distinctive crooning binds them together as a collection. More than just a nod towards the sophomoric nature of this record, Successor is also an apt name for a record that doesn’t just follow its precursor but becomes something greater in every way.