The Spaces Between
With 20 years off since her last release you could definitely say there have been some spaces between – but welcome back Francisca Griffin (formerly Kathy Bull of Look Blue Go Purple) and The Spaces Between, recorded over a few days in 2015 and 2016 and released now – is wonderful. Right from kick-off.
We start with One Eye Open, a rocker that bucks from the gates in much the same way as Hey Mersh did for Moe Tucker when she, similarly, had some 20 years or so off from music and raised a family.
Griffin’s done a great job raising her kids – some of them even play on this album, drummer Gabriel Griffin (Sewage) is a crucial presence.
She’s back doing a great job making music now. Ghost Boy feels like late-Mutton Birds-era Don McGlashan writing. And there are hints of the jangly 90s Dunedin sound that so informed by the Velvets and then by the earliest practitioners of the sound the city found (The Chills, The Clean) – you’ll hear this on Martyn and Stardust in particular, the drums building and tumbling over layers of guitar and violin.
Other guests include Alastair Galbraith, Mick Elborado (Negative Nancies, Terminals) and Kath Webster (Look Blue…) but this is Griffin’s show. These songs shine.
Hints of the old band, sure, why not, of course – but I’m more interested in the NZ-Southern Gothic moodswinging country/alt/indie tones across tunes like Bones & Lies, where it feels like Lucinda Williams has been unleashed on a David Kilgrour song.
I get some of the vibe of Barbara Manning too – who came to New Zealand in search of this very sound.
Falling Light feels like Heavy 8s-styled Kilgour. And that’s a mark of quality for sure. Or more comparison is aiming for it to be at least.
This album stands up on its own and exists far away from anything else. A new world of its own. And at just on 35 minutes there’s only one thing left to do when you reach the end of this golden run of songs. His play again, flip the vinyl. Go at it again. And then again. A magical return.