A bright light in Ōtepoti’s music scene, multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Neive Strang has just released ‘I am the Ribbon,’ a five-track EP that follows up on her 2020 album ‘Moon Life’.
Where ‘Moon Life’ drew somewhat from her earlier work with folk music, ‘I am the Ribbon’ tilts further towards the alt-rock hinted at on that album. The first single from the EP, Hold, is a definite statement, an emotionally charged, but clear-eyed view of a deteriorating relationship that the narrator wants to push pause on.
The song’s tempo structure – fast verses, and slow, almost dirge-like refrains – underlines that message clearly. Hold is one of Strang’s most arresting songs and starts the EP off with a bang.
‘I am the Ribbon’ was recorded live at Port Chalmers Recording Studios with Tom Bell recording, mixing and mastering the songs, and there’s a lot to unravel in the sound, which has influences from different eras of guitar rock.
Sick Love Tick may begin with a jangling guitar and mid-tempo balladry, but pulls out a head-banging heaviness that is often associated with metal or grunge, turning the song on its head. This contrasts with the opening delicate, chiming guitar work on If I Could I Would, and the initial stillness to Lock It Up, which has a gentle movement to it before becoming more heavily layered.
Though only five tracks deep, ‘I am the Ribbon’ runs over 25 excellent, personally confessional minutes. It is immediate and demands attention, a strong step forward for Neive Strang. Highly recommended.