It’s hard not to like anything that manages to reference The Kinks and Brave New World in the same song. Derek Toner’s band, Tuner, manage to do this on track two, and it goes without saying then, that it’s very easy to like this. Recorded between Ireland and Tauranga, the album wears its multi-cultural badge with pride. 24/25 starts things off with Cook Island church song, before going into the kind of finger-picked guitar groove you’d expect to hear on an Irish folk rock record, a la Glen Hansard or Damien Rice.
It would be lazy to lump ‘The Importance of Yar’ into the Hansard/Rice category, though there are similarities – the diatonic chord changes and soft spoken lyrics on Catch Us If You Can, the lad-rock grooves in Dig It In (and Call the Commies). There’s more here though, and very much a sense of identity, which is a feat considering the songs at times differ wildly from one another. The lyrics can meander and it does seem a bit unaware of the clichés used at times, and while some of the synth sounds are great, others feel a bit tacky. The talking at the beginning of Giving It Everything, by way of example, doesn’t really sit well. But all this is forgiveable – it’s a likeable debut that leaves you wanting to hear how the band might develop – which is exactly what a good debut should do.