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Reviewed by Ben Miller

The Butlers: Kaikōura Conceptions EP

Reviewed by Ben Miller

The Butlers: Kaikōura Conceptions EP

Featured in the Fresh Talent pages of NZ Musician back in 2019 with their strictly limited edition vinyl second album, Christchurch’s soulful, jazzy groovers The Butlers are back in 2021 with a smaller collection badged ‘Kaikōura Conceptions’.

The name is a simple admission that the tracks were creating in Kaikōura, following the country’s 2020 move to Level 3 lockdown. The EP is a collection of their four subsequent singles; Two Brothers, One Flew, I Ain’t Running and Time. Each manages to utilise the talents of each band member in new ways, creating melodically catchy, equally appealing yet unique atmospheres. 

The opening track Two Brothers sweeps the listener along with melodic vocals accompanied by an incredibly catchy jazz guitar riff, accented later with the addition of a brief sax solo. Relaxed by the gentle vocals then getting into the nature of the riff, it takes you back to the warm weather of summer.

One Flew, the second track, is the kind of song that will no doubt fill up the floor at any concert – and with all that musicianship on offer The Butlers naturally excel live. The track is full of snappy vocals that make you want to sing along, a brief guitar break and matching snappy sax riffs provided by Stingy Hooligan, all aimed to get you dancing.

Walt Robberds almost indolent vocals take control of the third track, I Ain’t Running, singing about finding the perfect someone, with the musical band providing a similarly measured backing to the song’s lyrics of trials and tribulations being hopefully overcome. 

Final track TIME (the capitalisation presumably to emphasise the gravity of the song’s message) is the most laid-back of the EP, a slow bassline groove introducing soulful vocals that urge us to ‘just slow down’. The chorus includes some wonderfully catchy lyrics that stick in your head, like the final line which closes out this versatile EP, ‘Six feet under, or I’m six feet above the rest’.

‘Kaikōura Conceptions’ provides the naturally joyful sound of The Butlers, with new elements that show the progression of the band. Each track is versatile in its own way, allowing the listener to find 15 minutes of pleasure in this music whether in the car, strolling on the beach, alone or grooving along at a live gig.