Unpopular Advent 2014 - Day 16: Robert Scott - ‘The Green House'
You will know Robert Scott from The Bats and The Clean: two of the finest groups from New Zealand or anywhere from the past thirty years or any time. If your collection does not contain records by those two groups then it is not a collection and you are not a lover of great music and really you should be reading another blog and another list of end of year albums. Alternatively of course you are at the start of your journey and in that case I envy you the pleasures of discovering such a wealth of wonderful sounds and songs. It makes me giddy just thinking of it. This year’s ‘The Green House’ would be a perfect place to begin.
Not that ‘The Green House’ was typically Bats or Clean. Indeed only the excellent ‘Vertigo’ and ‘Month of Sundays’ came close to a ‘full band sound’, but the album was certainly none the worse for that. In place of that sound was a more singer-songwriter, lonesome troubadour folkie vibe (minus the hippie dippie schtick you might associate with that, depending on your proclivities). In other words ‘The Green Door’ felt at times like an updated nod to Scott’s 2004 set ‘Songs Of Otago’s Past’, and there was nothing wrong with that. What there was also nothing wrong with was the fact that Tiny Ruins’* Hollie Fullbrook joined Scott on almost half of the album. In those moments there was a feeling that this was as good a combination as Gram and Emmylou or Gene and Carla, and you don’t get any better than that after all.
You may recall that in 2013 the Unpopular advent felt at times like an extended paean to the New Sound of Young New Zealand**. If that is the case then Robert Scott answered this year with a statement that spoke clearly of the previous generations’ ability to more than match them step for step.
*Tiny Ruins’ ‘Brightly Painted One’ album was one of those records that came oh so close to making this advent series but lost out at the last minute. It’s still more than worthy of your attention.
** You may think that the New Sound of New Zealand is rather conspicuous by its absence in this advent series, and you would be right. Largely this is down to my self-imposed rule of only allowing complete albums released in 2014 to make the short list. Sadly this excluded many of the acts who had impressed me in 2013. Had I bowed to my internal pressures and allowed compilation albums however, then the wondrous ‘Temporary’ from the very brilliant Fishrider label would most assuredly have been riding high in my list. If you have not yet picked up your copy (including the ace accompanying ‘zine) then you truly have missed out and have a treat in store.