As the title suggests The Changing Same ’s second album is a thoughtful exploration into the past, present and future of their music.
Longtime fans are rewarded for their background knowledge of now Hamilton-based frontman Matthew Bannister’s (vocals, guitar, ukulele, mandolin, organ and piano) musical history in Dunedin band Sneaky Feelings, as the carefully considered track sequence unfurls like a love letter to New Zealand’s indie rock scene.
Recorded in 2016 at Wintec (where Dr M Bannister is a tutor) and skillfully mastered by Dan Reese and Zed Brookes, ‘Creative Evolution’ is a perfect canvas for band members Albert Bannister (bass, trumpet), Stan Jagger (drums) and Paul Methven (acoustic guitar, vocals) to let their talents shine.
It will come as no surprise, given Bannister’s roots, that the nine tracks contain a hearty helping of the legendary jangle that came out of Dunedin in the ‘70s and ‘80s, known as the Dunedin sound. This melodious throwback, combined with elements of country rock, sets the nostalgic tone for the rest of the album, whilst alluding to a sort of upbeat innocence in opening track Just A Boy And A Girl.
Listeners are invited to continue on their journey with the folky, Celtic sound of Dunedin, scattered with lyrical nods to the past such as Bye Dominion Road, referring to Bannister’s stint with The Mutton Birds back in 1999.
The album takes a slightly melancholic turn with Favourite Clown, combining bold, theatrical imagery and reflective lyrics (“You think I always smile / but you should be me for a while.”) In 2016 Blues he sings vulnerably about having a ringside seat for the end of the world (“We’re gonna party like it’s 1984”), before launching into the optimistic final track Look Ahead – Bannister and Methven’s dulcet tones providing a soothing culmination to a meticulously produced album.