FAMILY CACTUS: Come Howling
By Amanda Mills
It’s hard to accept this is Family Cactus’ debut album, the expansive, at times cinematic long player is accomplished and advanced, belying the fact that the Wellington seven-piece are relatively new on the scene. Compared to Arcade Fire, Beiruit and Radiohead (among others), such influences can indeed be heard on In Transit, Mariachi Stomper, and the epic single Kingmaker. Recorded at Wellington’s Surgery studios with production by Lee Prebble, ‘Come Howling’ is a polished, stylish album that has a commercial indie folk-rock sound, and an appealing, emotive singer in Adam Ladley (Grand Prix, The Bonnie Scarletts). Performances are tight. Drummer Kris Taylor (Pig Out) and bassist Peter Smith (The Crosbys) keep the rhythms steady, while guitarists Ladley, Graeme Cummack (The Accelerants) and Max Walker propel the songs along, creating impressive soundscapes in their wake, especially apparent on A Running Mystery. Percussion, Hammond and Rhodes organs, autoharp and glockenspiel add to the overall expansiveness. While ‘Come Howling’ would be a proud moment in any artist’s discography, I look forward to a more individual sound from this talented band in the future.