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October 8, 2007 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Tokon and the Colours – Urban Tramper

Tokon & The Colours is the brilliant 3rd album from self-described ‘Treeninja’ Lake. The songs are soft, and often acoustic with a sprinkling of instruments – drums, maracas, gentle bass, warped electronic noises, trumpets and glockenspiel, often played by the talented Urbantramper himself.

This album is warm, soft, down to earth and filled with lyrical summer lullabies such as ‘Eucharist’, ‘Anxiety and Handpuppets’, and ‘How Do You Have Your Tea’ – the upbeat opener, which combines guitar, maracas, drums, xylophone, electronic samples and the achingly beautiful voice of Lake – with backing from the talented Elinor Chishom.

‘Data Entry Daydream’ starts off with a mass choir, fading away to Lake’s vocals, which effortlessly glide up and down notes. Backing vocals and bass from Wellington musician Joe Beaglehole compliment this soft, sweet track as well as glockenspiel and snatches of unobtrusive trumpet. Several songs have a more jazzy/swing feel, such as ‘My friend’s Mum’, which starts off with a triumphant trumpet fanfare.

‘Shitty Flat’, track seven, was Urbantramper’s first single, reaching number 2 on Kiwi FM top 10, and receiving airplay on b-net stations. It is unpretentious, with Lake singing in a strong Kiwi accent, although the song seems somewhat fragile: “and I’ll laugh and you’ll say ‘Cause we keep it all inside’, I’m living on the edge, it could go either way, I’ll get a double bed, then you can stay”. ‘Some Things Are Bad (Others Are Worse)’ is another stand out track, with faster offbeat drumming, electronic samples and insistent guitar, fading out to piano chords in the chorus.

This album reminds me of summer picnics under warm, cloudless skies, and lazy, sleepy days. It would be the perfect album for the return leg of a road trip, hung over and tired and watching the world whiz past the window. It’s the kind of music that reminds you what peace there is in taking a moment to relax and think, and to stop amidst the hectic rush of life, remembering that sometimes you just need to slow down and appreciate life that goes on around you (especially with exams looming, and stress mounting!).

I couldn’t agree more with Elinor Chisholm, who sings with Lake on ‘Full on Fez’, “everything’s just a little bit better with music”.


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