Headed up by Alexander Green, the Wellington downtempo trio Groeni build on the successes of their self-titled first EP with this new five-track wonder. Solitarily home-recorded in Stratford, at the base of Mt Taranaki, Groeni has been billed as UK bass music from a southwest Pacific perspective. Available as a 12″ or digital download, the package is slickly designed – the subtle cover art and design by Video Marsh (Nic Brown) reflects exactly how the music sounds.
Moving slowly away from the folk/rock influences that the first EP was rooted in, ‘Hewn’ builds on the electronic aspects. Bringing the dance aspect to the forefront hasn’t just developed the sound of the band, it’s also provided a major leap forward in songwriting. Where on ‘Groeni’ the writing was able to be more conventional, as the slower tempos and pop focus allowed, here the rhythm is king and the songs are better for it. The writing becomes based around developing ideas and motifs that move with the songs in a more natural way. There’s no longer an uneasy anything-can-happen feel of experimentation, instead a confidence in the refinement of ideas and a sound. No more awkward phrasings, no production bending to fit the song. The writing is catchier but loses none of the delicacy and tact that made it interesting. This is the sound of a band finding their voice and hitting their stride. The songs reference each other and interlace through timbre, melody and production – even the artwork and graphics seem to fit elegantly into the master plan, making this an utterly compelling work of electronica.