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The Mutton Birds

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Album Review

On their 1992 debut, this New Zealand rock group was the vehicle for the extraordinary songwriting skills of Don McGlashan, a mainstay of the New Zealand pop scene who was as ubiquitous with artsy post-punk as Chris Knox in his homeland during the '80s. With this group he went for a total "Kiwiana" aesthetic with a strikingly topical lyric-writing approach that set them apart from the often-oblique sound of anti-podean avant rock. A good comparison for this album would be with the work of Australian songsmiths the Go-Betweens and Paul Kelly, who mine similar oblique themes of daily life and transform them into eloquent, poetic pop music. The quartet went mainstream in New Zealand and Australia with a unique sound which falls somewhere between the crafty, FM-friendly songwriting of Neil Finn and Dave Dobbyn and the edgy alternative guitar rock sound of the Clean, Chills, and Verlaines. "Dominion Road," "A Thing Well Made," and "She's Like a City" exhibit McGlashan at his best and the uncanny appropriation of the '60s psychedelic hit "Nature" is a standout track with a catchy refrain originally recorded by New Zealand pop godfathers the Fourmyula. The Mutton Birds' album was recorded in a low-tech 16-track studio and in a practice room by the band, giving it a unique lo-fi ambience that characterized the sound of New Zealand rock and comes highly recommended to fans of the Flying Nun scene.

Biography

Formed: 1991 in New Zealand

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The New Zealand pop band the Mutton Birds was led by singer/guitarist Don McGlashan, already a highly regarded figure in his native land for his work in the legendary post-punk-era group Blam Blam Blam. Also including ex-Six Volts guitarist David Long and drummer Ross Burge, the group began recording their debut album in late 1991. Following its completion, former Dribbling Darts bassist Alan Gregg was recruited to fill out the lineup. Preceded by the single "Dominion Road," the Mutton Birds' eponymous...
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The Mutton Birds, The Mutton Birds
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