Avalanche City: Our New Life Above The Ground (Double Disc)
By Tim Gruar
Dave Baxter’s deliciously original and creative debut release as Avalanche City unequivocally deserves Tui Award nominations for Best Newcomer and Best Album. Sliding seamlessly between catchy pop, folky arrangements and soaring melodies the tunes are captivating and cinematic, yet manage to seamlessly straddle the line between comfortable commercialism and indi-edgy. Tunes like Everybody Knows, Drive On and The Citizens acknowledge influences as broad as SJD, Fleet Foxes, Felice Brothers and the Cocteau Twins. It’s so refreshing to hear naivety and innocence walking alongside clear, professional but understated production. We should not judge that the first single Love Love Love has featured on TV2 station promos. Nor that he chose to hole up in the Kourawhero Community Hall to record amongst the cows and the drizzle. Give extra credit for including Baxter’s EP ‘Snow’, especially the achingly divine title track, which toys with various Chills’ melodies and Beach Boy harmonics, the sensitive acoustic version of Drive On and the building anthems of Goodnight. Hook-laden, full of individual goose bump moments and a slight ethereal quality, Avalanche City deliver the goods.