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Album Review
Marvellous Year

Marvellous Year
by Don McGlashan & The Seven Sisters

Arch Hill

Review Date
9th July 2009
Reviewed by
Amanda Ratcliffe

Most will know him for his earlier work with iconic kiwi act, The Mutton Birds, but there’s much more to Don McGlashan than first meets the eye, with the release of his second album away from the band titled Marvellous Year. His debut – Warm Hand saw the popular man visit familiar territory sharing with us stories from the past. His latest however, proves a much bolder step taking a poetic approach reaching glittering untouched heights.

What I first noticed about this album is the way it has that distinct kiwi sound to it – like the way that Dave Dobbyn produces so effortlessly. It’s obviously local which is something I admire in any New Zealand musician who is aiming to appeal to international audiences. It’s rare to find one so comfortable wearing our accent, making it all the more noticeable when discovered.

Track one on this disc titled The Switch boasts smooth dreamy vocals which remind me slightly of the equally talented Liam Finn. A simple yet haunting path with a light dusting of musical genius is followed - slowly built up as the album continues. Tracks like Bad Blood and Marvellous Year are standouts for me as musically, they take on a light hearted life of their own making me imagine singing along to them on a road trip around the country with friends.

I must say though, I was a little dissapointed when I first layed ears on Bathe In The River. It starts out fine, but as the chorus comes up, the song seems to become a little disjointed. McGlashan hits notes that I’m not completely convinced are right for him and to be honest, put a bit of a damper on the entire tune. Maybe it’s because I’ve heard Hollie Smith’s more soulful version so many times on the television and radio?

Making up for that slight tragedy are You’re The Song and Everything’s Broken; Life’s So Sweet. They’re beautifully put together and perfectly show off McGlashan’s skills on the guitar along with his usual smashing vocals. With an almost Country Calendar theme tune kind of ambience about them, it’s hard not to feel at home listening to these tracks.

Radio Programmer along with C2006P1 (Make Yourself At Home) are a lot jazzier than the rest of the songs on the album. I’ve got to say, this did come as quite the surprise and made me wonder what else this old time rocker has up his sleeve that we don’t know about. Perhaps that has been his plan all along? Whatever it is, I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from McGlashan in the future with an album like this under his belt.

Rating: 7/10

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