Album Review



by Artisan Guns

7.6 / 10

Reviewed by Brannavan Gnanalingam

Auckland’s Artisan Guns sound much more mature than their brief time together and relative youth would imply. They have an exceptional control of melody, and their pop songs are smart and assured. Yet they have only been playing for a few years, and released a solid if unspectacular EP Bird and Bone. This 22 minute EP gives a good sign of some not inconsiderable talent, and their ability to write a great tune should only expand as they develop their songwriting.

The album gets off to a strong start with ‘North’, a gentle intro explodes into something much more thrilling, a deceptively simple song with a slightly unconventional rhythm, and excellent phrasing (in fact, Matt Hope’s lyrical phrasing is one of the most intriguing parts of the band). ‘Without You’ jumps in soon after, a power pop riff used to highly danceable effect, and reminiscent of the type of charming geek-pop of bands like Weezer (that comparison should be clarified as early, brilliant Weezer, as opposed to the later, rubbish Weezer). ‘Going Back in Time’ features Hope’s best vocal performance, as he treads that fine line between outright melodrama and emotional nakedness over the top of fine rhythm work by the band. ‘The End’ is a slight misstep, a little too meandering, but the final track ‘Brand New Game’ finishes the EP strongly.

The band could certainly push their songs much more (e.g. greater dynamic shifts, diverse instrumentation, a few more risks) – especially as their strong melodies can support much more. The band should also continue to develop a more distinctive personality, which can only assist in the song-writing stakes. This is especially as what they’re already doing with Hearts suggests that they have plenty more in them. That said, Hearts is a highly promising EP, one which stands alone as a calling card for a highly promising band.

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