Another classic New Zealand gets a re-issue with this lovely 1991 era LP from Graeme Jeffries outfit. Jeffries had started out in ace post punkers Nocturnal Projections before forming the magnificent This Kind of Punishment with brother Peter. When the Jeffries brothers went their separate solo ways Peter seemingly took the nasty bits with him whilst Graeme's music is much sweeter so we are left with a delightful LP of melodic, chiming pop.
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Graeme Jefferies co-masterminded a couple of important-but-niche New Zealand bands in his day, working with brother Peter to establish the wiry post-punk outfit Nocturnal Projections and their more nuanced successor This Kind of Punishment. Both bands were sort of punkish oxymorons, able to play super dulcet tunes and way overdriven stuff. You might call the brothers jangly -- I’d say it was more that they were shaky, creating bugbitten pop music that sounded a little gnarly around the edges but just right at the core.
Cakekitchen was Graeme’s musical retirement home and ‘Time Flowing Backwards’ shows a certain fondness for what he and his bro did: the first track is all out, distortion-charged rock music at a slow, kindly pace, while the second twinkles with pianos and acoustic guitars. As the record continues, though, you’ll notice Jefferies trying to compact a post-punk sound into a pastoral folkie’s wonderland -- the flutes opening “Silence of the Sirens” eventually divert into a quietly riffed tune that seems to place a twanging sound into a gloomy, basement-brooding production.
Jefferies’ voice, light as a feather falling from a tree, is enough to assure you against the small currents of feedback and discordance that rear their head on ‘Time Flowing Backwards’. The guitars screech but always fade in favour of his vocal, which casts over everything in the mix. For fans of the lighter, more keenly introspective Nocturnal Projections tunes like “No Problems Here”, this album hits home most when it’s Jefferies moping into a guitar, his voice occasionally croaking like a shy frog. Blastbeating noise bulletins like “Walked Over Texas” are a nice reminder of what you’d get after one of those peaceful moments, though.
If I may for a second disregard the fact I’m 23, lemme just say: this takes me back, man.
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