Describing themselves first as a music collective, Flamingo Pier make music, throw dance parties in places like Waiheke Island, and DJ at others. Blending disco hooks, classic house choruses and forays into funk they bring the spirit of dance to life with their debut self-titled album, released early June.
Band members Luke Walker, Dominic Jones and Brad Craig released their first EP in 2019, with a second EP titled ‘Indigo’ following in 2020. Their music has gathered interest and support from the likes of Maribou State, JD Twitch and The Blessed Madonna.
Recorded in Auckland and released by London-based Soundway Records, their 2021 album brings us a further developed Flamingo Pier sound. Making positive music with the aim to lift people’s spirits has been a driving factor for them and that’s made evident with the near-seven minute opening track Eternal. Catchy vocal choruses, a feel-good groove with individual rhythmic moments and a sax solo performed by Nathan Haines, Eternal has every element to be a hit on the dance floor.
Honey, another of three tracks previously released as singles, has a wildly funky bass line over which other ’70s styled instrument grooves are slowly built, with an energetic burst of vocals coming in midway before the track reverts to an instrumental. Make You Wonder is another kind of groove, a more uptempo and percussive Latin funk, vocal stabs blending in seamlessly to the beat with a guitar riff kicking in in the perfect moments, chiming in and out of the track.
The other five tracks on the album are just as well crafted. Whether it’s the burst of rhythmic symphony putting you in a dance trance in Last Call, or the instrumental led Cosmic Sunset with vocals emerging to build-up the end of the track, it’s easy to imagine the trio (and friends including drummer Julien Dyne, Haines and fellow Auckland house/techno duo Kédu Carlö who are credited on the extremely groovy Last Call) having a lot of fun during the creation process.
Writing most of the album together in 2020 in south Auckland, the band say they based it around the power of shared joy, in response to the challenges presented by Covid – which had one silver lining in that this was the first time the three members had been able to record in person together rather than collaborating over the internet as usually, at least one has been travelling overseas.
While definitely uplifting there is a sense of nostalgia and reflection evident, the eclectic inspirations and fearless dance-era appropriations of ‘Flamingo Pier’ cleverly evoking a longing for those carefree days on the dance floor.