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Fat Freddy’s Drop – Blackbird

Beki Kidwell


With previous studio albums Based on a True Story (2005) and Dr Boondigga and the Big BW (2009) carrying their weight in awards, fans and legendary status, the pressure is on for Wellington-bred band Fat Freddy’s Drop. Based on a True Story is still the highest selling album by a national artist in New Zealand’s history. Following in the footsteps of their previous successes, Blackbird has possibly become the bands most awaited album yet.

So, what does the album have to offer? As a long-time fan, I knew from the offset that I would need to spend my time wisely with closed eyes and a seat in the sun. Instantly, I became hooked. From the moment the opening sound of title single Blackbird blasted through my garden, it was clear how mature their sound has become. The smooth combination of trumpet, bongo, piano, electric acoustics and off-beat rhythms settled beautifully behind Dallas Tamaira or as he is better known, Joe Dukie’s vocals. Russia and Bones are my two favourite songs on the album – demonstrating the upbeat tempo and sunny disposition that fans are so used to from Fat Freddy’s Drop.

Clean the House and first single from the album, Silver & Gold, hold charming melodies – a simple reggae beat and an easy-listening vibe, with the latter gradually developing from a relaxed mash of perfect sounds, into a thunderous conclusion.

Proving a little different from this vibe however, Soldier gives the impression of ambient, background music. The same could be said for Never Moving. I could listen for as long as the songs last, but they are not the first that I will be backtracking on myself to repeat. Bohannon almost seems to follow suit, as I found myself truly missing the input of Dukie’s flawless vocals.

Another outstanding track is Mother Mother. Yet another of my favourites from the album, I definitely saw myself subconsciously pressing the repeat button and lying back to enjoy the mix of techno, dub and soul.

I am yet to discover another band quite like Fat Freddy’s Drop. Their sound is unique and justifiably different. As a fan, I have never felt disappointed and as a writer, I find them inspiring.

Blackbird proves to be the perfect listening material for a sunny day, and a rainy day for that matter. Its instant popularity in New Zealand and America, their upcoming European tour and their dedicated fans are all deserved – this is a definite album for those looking to enjoy a band like no other.