You might think early Motown had been milked dry as a source of fresh inspiration, but it is the starting point for the handclap-and-hook-heavy songs on TREBLE AND REVERB (Dawn Raid), the third album from Samoan/Indian songbird Aaradhna, and the result is irresistible. Thank producers Pete Wadams (aka P-Money) and Evan Short (from the duo Concord Dawn) for a sound as immediate and crackling as a piece of vintage vinyl. But it is Aaradhna’s wounded yet defiant lead vocals – not to mention her multi-tracked back-ups – that give these songs the timeless appeal of an old Mary Wells record.
For most of the past decade, Robin Hinckley has fronted underrated Wellington band Good Laika. But it is under the name Sharkness that he presents COAT OF ARMS (Independent), his first solo set of songs, in which he swaps Good Laika’s live dynamics for colourful studio-constructed atmospheres. Carefully cast accompanists (marshalled by Hinckley’s chief collaborator, Age Pryor) bring to life cunning unpredictable pop songs, which seem to draw equally on surrealism and childhood memories.