Lawrence Arabia, The Sparrow (2012)
I think James Milne – aka Lawrence Arabia – is one of the best, sharpest songwriters working in New Zealand today. And I think he’s ahead of the game in terms of knowing how to manage shtick, write tremendous songs, coax wonderful performances and reference a range of pop songwriting styles without ever falling into pastiche or parody. He’s improved across each record too – which is what you are meant to do of course. Why make a new record if it’s not as good as your other one? It needs to be better. And Milne improves every time – he ups his game. And that’s not often the case with musicians. Many think they are doing it. But they’re not. Milne is doing it. He probably knows this too – The Sparrow feels like it flies because of a huge confidence from the man in charge. We shouldn’t necessarily name Kiwi albums of the year – but if I did have to pick one it would be this. At any rate The Sparrow would be on my list of top albums (by anyone – from any country) released this year. And it will be when I do get to writing that list. So, accordingly, I bought the album on vinyl. That’s the story. It might not be exciting. But this record is. It’s beautiful and weird and wonderful and rich and smart and beguiling and it begs you to play it again and again and again and again and again and again [sorry – I’ll just lift the needle]. It’s one of my favourites from this year. And I look forward to playing it across many other years.
Sample Track: The Listening Times
The Vinyl Countdown is a document of every LP I listen to, brand new discoveries and old-old favourites; extremely pre-loved, previously abandoned or with the shrink-wrap having just been removed it’s all here at The Vinyl Countdown