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Reviewed by Marshall Smith

Lake South: Wellington – Te Upoko O Te Ika

Reviewed by Marshall Smith

Lake South: Wellington – Te Upoko O Te Ika

This new album from Wellington’s Lake South is a nostalgic homage to Wellington (witness the song titles including Island Bay, Holloway Road and Karori Park) and a life fully lived. Brock & Dundas (Debt/Doubt) introduces the 11-track proceedings with a beguiling blend of tenderly plucked strings, saucy retro synths and questioning lyrics.

 The whole album has a pleasing blend of lush and haunting vocals, live percussion, guitars, strings and synths – undeniably retro but also refreshingly now. Ambient, warm and groovy it is a clever and beautiful production. There’s a rawness to the sound, but that’s coupled with a real warmth, again also reflected lyrically.

Tasty, seductive grooves are tucked beneath some complex and clever arrangements, expertly mixed by Lake South himself. The production is delightfully fresh and original sounding. A lot of time has evidently gone into getting these songs and tracks sounding just right, crafting his electronic sound beds into gorgeous pop gems with a real Wellington cosiness to the mixes.

There’s an unforced poignant quality to the album, a celebration of home, regrets, memories, Aotearoa in general and Wellington in obvious focus. The second track, Mount Victoria, is a stand-out delight on first listen. This is clever writing too, the lyrics are deft, heartfelt, funny and sweet. Light, uplifting, poignant and nostalgic but also fresh sounding.

It feels like we should be hearing this all over TV and film – sync opportunities ahoy surely, if not already? Do people listen to whole albums anymore? Well, this one is worth sitting down in a comfy chair with the heater on, for a good listen.