25th August 2021
Last month I shared the first single release from Wairunga, the (as then) unreleased album from Fat Freddy’s Drop. The full album was released a few weeks ago and I have had it playing in the background for the last few days. Why in the background?, because I find it the perfect ambient music to work to (although I admit to having blasted the album at a healthy volume a good few times).
Fat Freddy’s Drop slick style has been developed over 20+ years of playing together. In fact they have only had two line-up changes since their inception in 1999. In this time they have built a solid world-wide fan base of ardent followers and have become a major festival draw card.
I covered their history in detail in a previous article and today I’d like to share a few tracks from the new album. There is no best song. There is no favourite. Every one of the seven tracks is a masterpiece. Five new compositions and two re-workings of previously released favourites were recorded at Wairunga, a New Zealand resort close to the heart of the band, and their favourite getaway spot since they formed.
My opening song is ‘Dig Deep’ and is the culmination of numerous versions that had been developed but never used. I think you’ll agree it was well worth the wait.
The day was captured on film for a concert film that was broadcast on streaming platforms for two days. It is available on YouTube and is fun viewing for ardent fans. I feel that you can tell the quality of a band by how they interact with each other, FFD is a prime example of friends who are completely comfortable in ther collective space.
The band used this private concert format successfully with the Lock-In concert album recorded and filmed at the Michael Flower Centre and released last year. It is a brilliant performance made even better by being recorded in a deserted auditorium.
My second song is ‘Wairunga Blues’, a song previously released on the 2015 Bays album and put on the back-burner for a re-working. It is a celebration of clever keyboards, funky bass and unmistakable horn section, all honed into a slick gem of a song.
Something that must be mentioned is the superb sound quality, especially as it was recorded outside in the bush. The day was recorded by Richard Mcmenamin or Western Audio, the band’s long time sound engineer. The master producer and beat maker, Fitchie (aka MU), processed the live recordings at BAYS studio. These were then sent to Calyx Studio in Berlin for the final mastering.
I might not have been telling the truth when I said that there were no favourites on this album. There is one that struck a chord in me from the moment I heard it, and that song is the first released shared a few weeks ago, Shady. Our local Amapiano style really suits FFD’s style and beat-maker Fitche did a fine job in his interpretation.
If you are a fan of top-drawer musicianship and excellent song crafting you can’t go wrong with Wairunga. Catch you soon.
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Words © Andrew Knapp 2021