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The Phoenix Foundation
Caravan Records

Horsepower, the debut album by New Zealand's sextet The Phoenix Foundation is a menagerie of country and folk influences with cliques of rock, New Age, esoteric space age clips, and indie pop flowering. The 6-piece band has enjoyed cool receptions in the UK, Australia, and America. Their folk/rock rubrics are groomed with a rustic sunning like The Decemberists and a Guster laid back swipe. The selections are sedate and healing with a pacifist's touch.

Folk/rock tunes like "Sister Risk" and "The Swarm" stock a Neil Young tilt with twangy drifts and peace-loving vocals. "Let Me Die A Woman" packs nu wave hues with indie pop triceps from xylophones, recorders, and bubbling rhythmic segments. The tranquil toned instrumentation on "The Charming Van" loops sparse bodices with decor like The Fray, while "St. Kevin" regulates space age palettes and New Age movements. "Bruiser" sticks out from the uniformed fabric with robotic vocals over mechanical grumbles, as "Sally" paves soft rolling lap steel drones with mandolin rows.

The Latin treatments on "Celebrate" add elegance to the folksy toned violin mists, so too does the tranquilizing movements on "Lambs." The acoustic country motions on "Wildlife" and "Going Fishing" have a Reckless Kelly handling and a strong mid-west vibe even though the band members of The Phoenix Foundation are from New Zealand. Horsepower shows the band's knack to mesh rustic shading with ambient cornices.

The Phoenix Foundation are Conrad Wedd on guitar and keyboards, Warner Emery on bass guitar, Will Ricketts on percussion, Richie Singleton on drums, Samuel Flynn Scott on guitar and vocals, and Luke Budo on guitar, vocals, and keyboards. They have released their sophomore album Pegasus in Australia and will be writing music for the upcoming film by director Taika Waititi.

-Susan Frances

1. Sister Risk
2. Let Me Die A Woman
3. This Charming Van
4. The Swarm
5. St. Kevin
6. Bruiser
7. Sally
8. Celebrate
9. Going Fishing
10. Lambs
11. Wildlife

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