Originally from Motueka, now based in Taupo, Jason McIver is a multi-talented musician. Rather than be tied to a band he has deliberately elected to call it a ‘collective’ – allowing the entity to be whoever is present at the time. This widely appealing album follows a crowd-funded 2014 EP, ‘The Big Blue’. McIver has past credits as the MAINZ Songwriter of the Year, both in 2010 and the year following, and has done time fronting heavy rock and metal bands – though there’s no trace of that here. This is more Pearl Jam without the heavy parts. It embraces all those qualities that hook people by the ears – pop, rock, blues, folk… no two tunes too alike. Zorran Mendonza usually specialises in the heavier end of music with various metal styles, but on this he recorded, mixed, mastered and produced at almost the opposite end. Also present to flesh out the McIver-penned material (one co-write in Stoney Joe with guitarist Matt Hill) are Will Stairmand on drums, Jesse Reeves and Hill on bass, John Boone on percussion and Elisha Hobbs on piano and BVs. While perhaps never striking enough to demand the attention of radio, McIver’s talent for penning a decent tune is nonetheless well evident.