By Bing Turkby
Definitely the first ‘dub and country’ album I’ve heard (I’ve decided to call it ‘dubtry’), and an impressive 14-track product it is. When not heading down the reggae route, the album has a predominantly light Warratahs-like feel to it. ‘Astroturf’ is a showcase not only for the musical talents of the members but also for the strong ditty songwriting skills of guitarist/vocalist Dean Murray. He is joined by three very accomplished female musicians – I’m sure they don’t henpick him too much – making a tight unit, even on the dreamier songs. There are dubby ruminations on the greed of politicians, cruisey country numbers celebrating smalltown life, and even a video of the song Everybody’s Famous, which perfectly conveys the joys of living in rural NZ. I Didn’t Mean To Let You Down includes a hauntingly beautiful slide guitar solo and Carylann Martin provides several great accordion breaks throughout the album. The singing and harmonising is natural and spot-on. Hailing from the Horowhenua, with recording, mix and mastering by Ross McDermott at Audiosweet in Paraparaumu, Henpicked are a cheerful, mellow, Kiwi-accented delight.