Election EP (2014)
I have one problem with this EP – and it’s as glaringly obvious as that crude-collage cover – this has been created in the hope that they’ll get in a bit of trouble, get a bit noticed. That’s not to say there aren’t some great songs here – there are. And I’m always interested in what Powertool has to offer, a quirky wee label running on an oily rag budget (well, they’re not about to get any government funding now are they!) and they’ve had a hand in some really great releases. Matthew Bannister’s track-by-track cover of The Beatles’ Revolver being the most recent example of a Powertool release that I’ve really loved.
But here it can’t help but seem cobbled together. Glum’s Vote Positive is a pretty cool wee chug and Jordan Reyne’s Dear John is the standout – a wonderful composition, a stunning performance, poignant, perfect. Anything she does deserves to be heard and it’s one of the crimes of the way the New Zealand Music Industry operates that she was all but ignored and now living off-shore still has some of the more important things to say about and around NZ in song and is only ever being heard by a small, dedicated audience.
The dream teaming of George Henderson and Matthew Bannister provides another highlight in Elton John (Kim Dotcom). Have these two worked together before? I sure hope they’ll do more in the future.
Then we get a bit of throwaway stuff – you almost imagine the label going, quick, panic! We’ve almost got enough “political songs” for an EP – we need to release it now so we can get told off in time for the election!
River’s Edge’s A Nation Of isn’t a bad song but it’s a nothing. Mark Airlie’s Grappling Iron is very nearly a bad song. And Scarlett Lashes’ Free Radical Love Party is the sort of bedsit bullshit that gives tiny labels attempting quirky things a bad name. Well, even more of a bad name, a worse name…
Bookending the EP with Gold Medal Famous’ John Key Is A Dick (BBQ Reggae Version) and John Key Is Still A Dick (Electropop Version) sums up the tenor of the project – that cobbled-together vibe. Satire is one thing but simply calling the PM a dick – whether true or not, whether how you feel or not – it’s not exactly anything worth saying.
A shame that this should come across as a bit sad, a bit try-hard, a bit of a desperate grab for attention. A few of the songs here are really quite wonderful.