It’s been a long time coming, but Gecko has finally released his sophomore album Climbing Frame!
Gecko is an absolute gem of a musician that I had the pleasure of seeing perform in a ruin of a chapel in London before I even knew he had graced the stage at So Far in my home turf in Auckland, New Zealand.
He’s a just a completely different breed of musician to any other I have ever come across. Gecko gets up in front of an audience and leaves them uncertain whether or not they’ve just seen a comedian spin them into fits of laughter, or a thoughtful singer songwriter leave them introspective for the evening. Listening through Climbing Frame is no different.
Gecko starts off the album with his playful single “Can’t know all the songs”, a fun jab at people who always expect every musician to have an encyclopedic knowledge of their own musical taste. We’ve already had the delight of reviewing this song, if you want to read more check out what Isla had to say here!
This is then juxtaposed with the title track “Climbing Frame”, which is a beautiful take on children’s ability to take a bad situation and take a creative, fun spin on it. This song “tells the story of a tree that had fallen down in a storm in the middle of Queens Park. Without a seconds thought, it had become a new climbing frame for the kids who frequented the park.” Gecko muses that “there’s hope that the youngest people in this world will turn the apocalyptic hand that they’ve been dealt into something positive that we have not yet seen.”
The album also throws perspectives at you that you wouldn’t expect. “Laika” tells the story of the first dog sent into space but the Russian space programme to become a “distant canine, drifting in space time”. The song is playful in nature, but delves into an oddly relatable existential crisis of a dog who is riddled with self doubt and not feeling worthy to be sent to space. Although Laika thinks “I guess the sooner I go, the sooner I can come home”, the song twinges at the heart strings with the sad reality that this was a one way trip for Laika.
“A Whole Life” tells the endearing story of a younger Gecko explaining to Nursery kids how difficult his first year at school was and the importance of not calling your teacher mum. The song progresses through life always telling a younger gecko that although you “might not want things to change” you must grow up, and that there’s a whole life ahead. The song touches on the difficulties in each stage of life, but how each stage is bearable, and that we get through it. It’s a reassuring sentiment, especially in times such as these.
Gecko’s first album was called ‘Album of the year’ in the Morning Star, and his music has taken him across the world from Stockholm to over here in lil old New Zealand. We wish all the more success to Gecko in his future endeavours, and look forward to seeing more music come through.
Make sure to follow Gecko on Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.
Nick Dow is back, and immediately sending shivers down my spine.
Isolated, is an eerie and ethereal piece that belongs in an abandoned ruin of a concert hall. The sound builds on echoing arpeggios with a rough falsetto that soars through the spacious soundscape reminiscent of Radiohead. This is one of the simpler songs Nick has released steering away from earlier complex works, but I believe the beauty of this song comes from it fully utilised stripped back arrangement, a delicate touch on the keys, and flawless harmonic progression. The song appears to be topical with 2020’s isolating lock downs worldwide, striking a chord with many of us pent up inside isolated from the world around us.
Isolated is the first we’ve heard from multi-instrumentalist Nick Dow since his well received debut album “Layers” quoted as being “about as good as debut albums get” which charted in NZ and set Nick off playing shows around NZ. Nick has built up a reputation around Auckland as a formidable musician, with talent as a vocalist, pianist and violin player, playing for musicians such as TEEKS.
Catch Nick Dow playing in Auckland on the 31st of October with BEING. and Chris Wallace at the Wine Cellar.
Keep up with Nick Dow on Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.
South For Winter is the otherworldly folk trio comprised of Nick Stone, Dani Cichon and Alex Stradal. Stone and Cichon met as volunteers building greenhouses in the Andes Mountains. Here they wrote Fallen Seeds, the first of many mesmerising pieces they would work on together. Upon moving to Nashville in 2017 they met the missing piece in their sound: classically trained cellist Alex Stradal.
Always You summons the sun in the winter. It begins with a strong acapella sentiment from the pure voice of Cichon. Her signature lyrical style sounds Oh my love when I lose my hold / when my eyes forget their youth / when the wind’s worn down these bones / oh there’s always you. South for Winter’s lyrics often walk the line between poetry and song, and their latest creation is no exception.
Cichon is joined by a bright ukulele and full band arrangement. Stone’s harmonies add colour and depth to the timbre, and the piece sets off on a boundlessly enthusiastic journey. It’s easy to hear the fun the musicians have when they work together. The three stylistic inputs result in a masterful and well balanced soundscape.
Always You is a more optimistic offering than the eerie murder ballads South for Winter is famous for, but there is a distinct familiarity hidden in it. It’s easy to hear the intricate sound of the band when the cello is introduced and the song breaks for a cheeky guitar solo. Perhaps this cotton candy track is exactly what the world is in need of this year. The song promises that despite all the darkness and inevitable passing of time, love will remain.
The band is set to release a full length album this year, and we couldn’t be more excited for more magic. Keep up with their progress on Instagram and Facebook.
Chris Pidsley has dropped a couple of tasty indie-rock tracks recently which we can’t get out of our heads! Cinnamon & Berryhead show Chris Pidsley’s increasing talent as a song writer and mastery of creating a relaxed, happy soundscape.
Cinnamon has an intro that’ll be sampled into a chill-hop track any day now. The track moves into classic up-beat indie rock vibe with retro synths, chorused guitars and lazy vocals. Chris uses rhythmic flourishes and tasteful layering to keep us listening throughout the track. The track is about “the excitement and emotions you feel when you kiss someone for the first time.”
Berryhead is the sleepy b-side to Cinnamon. The song is a beautiful lullaby reminiscent of Jose Gonzalez, Cavetown or Syd Matters that would sit perfect on the “Life is Strange” Soundtrack. Chris has beautiful strings and synths to accompany his multi-tracked vocals the combines into a beautiful elixir that washes over the senses to put you at ease. Chris wrote Berryhead “…whilst on holiday in Torquay. On a walk to Berryhead I saw a bench dedicated to a couple who said that spot was their favourite spot in the world. I based the lyrics on this idea of a couple growing old there and the beauty they saw in each other as well as the location.” Berryhead might be my personal favourite track from Chris Pidsley so far.
Make sure to check out Chris Pidsley over on Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.