Saturday, September 29, 2018

Album Review: Armchair Insomniacs - Armchair Insomniacs (2018)

If your only exposure to Auckland band Armchair Insomniacs has been the popular tune 'Wide Awake In Wonderland', featuring local rapper Leva, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the band’s primary modus operandi was one of hard-hitting socially conscious hip-hop. 

That tune – and its supporting video – has been widely shared on various social media platforms in recent months. Yet, as good as it undoubtedly is, that specific track isn’t really all that representative of the band, or indeed the rest of the material found on its eclectic self-titled debut album. 

If anything, Armchair Insomniacs appeal more as an unlikely post-millennium throwback to the delights and glory days of the Seventies yacht rock era. A feeling immediately heightened by the immaculate production wizardry on offer right across the album’s nine-track, 40-minute duration. Something that results in a smooth space rock vibe, with the most obvious local reference point from that bygone era being a band like Golden Harvest, say. 

All achieved with the fixtures and fittings of modern day technology, which naturally helps to give the music a next level sheen well beyond anything that was even possible back then. 

It’s a little bit like getting the best of both worlds; the past duly excavated, before being dressed up and presented with a very contemporary spin. 

Throw in a little bit of prog, a few guitar solos, bountiful hooks, and song titles like 'Sun', 'Free Love', and 'Stoned' – the latter being a real highlight – and it becomes almost impossible to argue that Armchair Insomniacs are anything other than staunch students of pop music history with serious talent to burn, man.

(An expanded/edited version of this review can also be found here at NZ Musician)

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