Electric Hawaii

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Please note: the fact that the sun has finally appeared on UK shores at the very same time that I started listening to Opossom’s Electric Hawaii may have skewed this review slightly. Opossom is essentially a solo project for Kody Nielson, ex-frontman of New Zealand’s Mint Chicks. It comes across as an excuse for Nielson to run the show, play the instruments and go into new directions which wouldn’t have particularly suited his previous band. Whilst The Mint Chicks were rough around the edges, Opossum sounds polished, harmonic and dreamlike by comparison, and in this case it’s all the better for it. Opening track “Girl” is a pop nugget, a ridiculously simplistic short sharp ode to The Beach Boys which is swiftly followed up by the slightly more inventive but equally enjoyable psychedelic swagger of “Fly”. These neat and hooky moments keep on coming throughout a concise album where not a single track breaks the 4 minute barrier, even on the weirder material towards the end of the record, the tracks are effectively snappy. There’s an occasional over-reliance on vocal manipulation which sometimes works very well (“Watchful Eye”) and sometimes doesn’t (“Getaway Tonight”) but on the whole, the sound of Opossom is a very pleasing one indeed. In the year 2000 The Webb Brothers made a vastly under-valued summer-pop masterclass called Maroon, and Electric Hawaii has the same sort of easy-going joyful pop feel. The Webb Brothers pretty much vanished into obscurity after that record so lets not tempt fate and just enjoy this one whilst we can. This is the first proper summer album of the proper summer.