The Brunettes: Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks
By Matthew Bannister
The Auckland-based Brunettes centre around the musical partnership of songwriter Jonathan Bree and singer and multi-instrumentalist Heather Mansfield. They're tremendous live, with a theatrical presence unusual in a Kiwi band, full of clever interaction between 'boy' and 'girl'. The songs (including student radio hits Moon and June Stuff and Talk To Jesus are like little playlets or sketches, in the vein of classic '60s pop like the Shangri-Las, Sonny and Cher, Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, where the interest is in the psychology of male/female attraction almost as much as the music itself. But the musical arrangements are also pretty interesting, especially if you like Burt Bacharach or 'Pet Sounds'-era Beach Boys. Mature, sophisticated stuff, but also full of sly wit and fun. Just don't expect them to 'sound like a New Zealand band' and you won't be disappointed.