New Zealand seems a long way from anywhere and maybe this is why they have developed their own rich musical tapestry. Singer Justine Ó Gadhra-Sharp, around 20 years ago, went into a recording studio in Auckland, with collaborator Iva Treskon, laid down some tracks and there they remained until another musicians, Bryan Tabuteau and Josh Wood bringing them back to attention. The tracks were given a new lease of life and the EP called Sidhe, the Gaelic pronunciation ‘Shee‘, was created with Wood (The Mercy Cage) in the engineering/production seat.
The opening track is “Charmer“, about that person that has a silver tongue and worms their way into your affections but never should have. Some songs just make your jaw drop at the pure elegance of the music and the vocals. “Stanley’s Only Hope” is one of those songs. A duet between Ó Gadhra-Sharp and Michel Rowland (Disjecta Membra) done in the broken carnival style I like to think Nick Cave pioneered. The vocals fence with each other before joining in a beautiful spiral, Rowland with his deep and smooth baritone complimenting Ó Gadhra-Sharp.
“Red Room” is the single and deservedly so. An electronic turn of the aloof, sexual kind with a catchy chorus that will stick with you for quite a while. There is a whirlwind of guitar and piano in “Hypnosis“, as if there is something unstable going on in her racing mind. Completely on a different plane is the mellow “Walking On Air“, a minimalist piece that wanders it’s own path before the last track, a remix version of “Red Room“. The Mercy Cage are another New Zealand group who give this mix a cyber-industrial tickle.
Yes, my favourite is “Stanley’s Only Hope” because of the finesse of the vocals and the drama involved and “Red Room” will be a crowd pleaser. Her vocals are just smokey seduction and with the help of other members of the New Zealand gothic and industrial community, Ó Gadhra-Sharp has brought out an eclectic, dark electronica and cabaret style offering in Sidhe.