Saturday, January 31, 2015

Album Review: Hawaiian Maiden – Good Hustle (2014)

Christchurch-based multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Wheeler is better known around the local traps as the drummer for punk stalwarts None Left Standing. But if his solo incarnation, Hawaiian Maiden, is anything to go by, his heart is pure old school rock n roll.

Wheeler's debut release under that amusing moniker is called Good Hustle, and it contains six rockabilly-come-surf rock instrumental gems that somehow manage to transport the listener back to a far simpler time and place. Back to a sepia-tinged postcard world where the sun shines all day every day, and where long boards rule the waves. Back to a pre-metric era when you could travel city-to-surf in your Mark 2 Ford Zephyr convertible for less than a couple of quid’s worth of high octane benzene.

It’s part vocal-less Violent Femmes, it’s a little bit early B-52’s, but mostly it’s Duane Eddy hanging out with a combi van full of mates up in the dunes at dusk. More than that, it’s a lovingly crafted piece of work that sounds like it was as much fun to make as it is to listen to – six quirky vibrato and reverb-drenched tunes, with eccentric oddball titles.

There’s a production credit to David Webber, a trumpet solo from Guy Higginson on the almost ska flavoured ‘Helen, It Goes Without Saying’, but for the most part Wheeler does everything himself.

Perfect for balmy summer evenings at the bach.

You can buy Good Hustle at the Hawaiian Maiden Bandcamp page here.

This review originally appeared in the Dec/Jan issue of NZ Musician

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