Title: Mascuzzi Jacuzzi
Artist: Albion Place
Reviewed by: JACK LEONARD
Albion Place have been kicking around in the NZ music scene since 2011, and they have been steadily building up steam with the release of two EPs and a long list of gigs. They’ve gone from a hopeful high school band to “the soundtrack to the world-renowned Otago student lifestyle.”
As much as that above sentiment captures some of the carefree sounds showcased by Albion Place, it does an injustice to the variety of sides they show on their new LP, Mascuzzi Jacuzzi.
Among the threads that tie the album together into a cohesive experience are clean, reverb-soaked electric guitars, smooth vocals, atmospheric and melodic keyboards and a tight, driven rhythm section. But this is merely a framework for the surprises that make the band exciting to listen to. Whether it’s the inclusion of a new, spacy sound from the keys, effects washed over the guitars, a sudden change in delivery style from the vocals, or even a sudden shift of genre, there always seems to be an exciting way in which Mascuzzi Jacuzzi grabs your attention.
It’s this willingness to diversify that comes to define the album, as most of the tracks have at least one memorable moment separating it from the others. The Tame Impala-esque overdriven guitars at the end of Easier put a full stop at the end of the track in an exciting fashion. Samples – presumably from old movies I have yet to identify – punctuate a more unhinged vocal performance on Stepped Out Of The World, and 9-minute closer Closed Off (It’s A Whirlwind Out There) hypnotises with just two chords and a great display of dynamics and repetition. These are just a few select attributes that stick out from the last few tracks on the album; such moments are present throughout.
Unfortunately, the diversity on display here also lends towards the album’s weaker points. Some of the tracks or sections on Mascuzzi Jacuzzi don’t quite fit the overall vibe of the project. Since U Called‘s easy-going reggae vibes feel a bit cheap after the tracks that preceded it, but then again it has a fantastic, spaced-out ending. Bullsh*t‘s lyrics feel uninspired and a touch trite alongside a track like Easier with it’s touching subject matter and beautiful paired vocals.
Fortunately, such moments are not just few and far between, but they are also only problematic because of the quality of the rest of Mascuzzi Jacuzzi.
Make no mistake, Mascuzzi Jacuzzi is not just the sound of a young band finding their feet, it’s a successful and exciting debut full-length that deserves your attention.
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JACK LEONARD is a Cinema and Media graduate with a penchant for dogs that look like wolves. He’s a music enthusiast who divides his time evenly between consuming unhealthy amounts of media and getting lost in forests.