R E V I E W
Datemonthyear Album Review
The self-titled album from Hamilton’s Datemonthyear has been long in the oven. Head chef/band founder Trevor Faville has been working on this material for the last five years and the results show a true dedication to the craft, both in musical arrangement and aesthetics. This is an album that, despite being created by “independent music bohemians”, is professionally astute. It is paired with quirky lyrics and memorable hooks that will no doubt ensure its popularity.
Opening number, entitled, ahem, ‘Numbers’, is a great example of this. The vocals of Emma Koretz float breezily over the instrumental but spike surprisingly in the ear. Lines like, “dancing with Machiavelli’s Ghost” followed quickly with “Supermarket queue on a Saturday” give the elaborate and the mundane so succinctly. The song gives way to the punchy ‘Flowers’. Here, the instrumental prowess of Brooke Baker (guitar, keyboards), Tyler Leet (guitar) and Hayley Schwass (bass) come to the fore to support Koretz’ smooth vocal delivery.
‘July’ must have been written with northern hemisphere whanau in mind (“July/making hay while the sun shine’s down”). It is the lead single and sees squelchy guitar and soaring singing keeping fans of everyone from early Neil Young to Fur Patrol hanging onto every note. It would be easy for these songs to be lumped into something quintessentially “Kiwi”, with some similar sounds to other local heroes like the basslines of Lucid Three or the understated but complex drumming of someone like Ross Burge of The Mutton Birds, but there is something more here.
That may well be picked up by listeners as far flung as Essex, Argentina and Germany (where Datemonthyear are already getting airtime), and it may be that artists in general are not being hemmed in by geographical constraints the way that may have been true of the Dunedin Sound for example. The smaller the world becomes, the bigger a band like Datemonthyear will be able to be. It feels like that Datemonthyear are “making faces to the scenery” and taking a journey that is just as emotionally varied as it is not grounded in solely being a “kiwi” band and that makes it a mighty fine record.