By Shaun Chait
Stray Magpie might have been a better name for this band. Picking up little pieces from the fully blossomed gardens of Americana, indie pop, alt-folk and rock, these Hamilton lads have flown back to the nest, stitched them all together, and the result is this debut album. Opener Alicanto threatens everything from Steve Earl’s Copperhead Road to Irish, Eastern or stoner folk rock – so it’s somewhat amazing that it actually works very well. Blackbirds And Roses is my fave here – a stirring indie pop number that walks the tightrope between uplifting and melancholy expertly. Unfortunately the album veers between moments of brilliance like these to some heard-it-before melodies where tracks tend to labour – a worry given they aren’t particularly long. In the middle are songs where I like the ideas, can see the potential, but Strayhound just haven’t quite managed to tap the vein. The vocals overall sit somewhere between Samuel Scott and Jordan Luck. Towards the end of this album the band enter indie rock/Britpop territory successfully with the likes of the epic Sonora Remains – a reminder of their class when they get it right. When listening it’ll help to be a magpie yourself and pick out the best parts. Recorded at the Wintec studio in Hamilton.