Album Review

Rise and Ride Toward

Rise and Ride Toward

by Urban Tramper

7 / 10
18th January 2010

Reviewed by Hayley Koorts

The journey of Urban Tramper began in 2001, with the first steps being taken by creator and lead vocalist Lake. Since their genesis, the band have toted a transient line-up and undergone the mandatory peaks and troughs of all group dynamics. But after living in the Queen’s country and dabbling in Europe, the band have returned to God’s Own with what they proclaim is their strongest line-up to date.

In under four minutes, the Wellingtonian collective manage to serve up a mish-mash of polyphonic crooning and big-band hoots and toots, all on a bed of flower-powered afro-pop. They’ve rightly chosen this delightful nod to Vampire Weekend as their first single, ‘My Grand Plan’; an apt moniker for such an ambitious aural feast. ‘It Is Close, But Not Here’ is your howling, campfire anthem for the summer. A lonesome trombone’s lament is woven into the melody towards the end, finally petering out to mirror the troubadour’s deflated spirits. This one’d slot nicely into that time spent wallowing in the aftermath of Christmas, puzzling over the anti-climax of the New Year, all whilst avoiding dreadful moment of self-reflection: What the hell have I achieved in the last twelve months?! Good thing it’s redeemed by a splattering of optimism in the buoyant canticle ‘The Ballad of Lord Warburton’. Ahhh, yes, this year isn’t going to be so glum...

Being based in the capital means they haven’t been able to escape the influence of their surroundings. They’ve been tagged with the ubiquitous ‘Wellington sound’, perpetuated by the synonymous Black Seeds and Fly My Pretties crew. There’s even a visage of Bret & Jemaine in ‘Hot Young Couples’ (although I’m not sure if it’s sincere or purely accident...). For those of you who curl your lip and snarl that you’ve heard it all before, I guarantee you’ll be singing a different tune by the halfway mark. In fact, you’ll most likely be singing along.

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