Live At York Street
Jed Parsons is nobody. He’s from Christchurch. Hera Hjartardóttir is originally from Iceland – and some rave notices there church up an otherwise meaningless CV and (allegedly) make her someone, or at least not quite a nobody – she’s also (now) from Christchurch and so together they are Jed & Hera. And here with this duo album, Live At York Street (someone’s got far too much money – for a nobody!) they have released a bunch of Hera’s songs with her vocals prominent. In fact Jed is like a dogsbody, menial guitar strumming and tedious swipes at the drums with brushes, his character-less vocal tracing around hers.
You might read elsewhere that this is sweet and charming. But it’s not. It’s a bunch of songs that run the gamut from pedestrian to god-awful (well, I guess that’s range?) with hackneyed lyrics about “you have so many days/just give me one” and “I woke up this morning to an empty life”– that one in particular sounding wretchedly like something Ani DiFranco would serve up. You can just imagine it with an extra hiccup or too for vocal punctuation – and an air of smug hippie entitlement.
At least one of the songs steals the chord progression from Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah but tries to sneak off with it by burying the tune with all the aplomb of a first-time busker.
There’s a song called Issues that sounds a bit like one of the weaker songs from Bic Runga’s career – her last album for instance. Or put another way, one of the better songs from Boh Runga’s career…
“Those that mind don’t matter/those that matter don’t mind”. Oh, the platitudes. It’s as if a bunch of Fortune Cookie sentiment has been cooked up to a soft train rhythm while watching the movie Once for inspiration/in desperation.
This can fuck right off.