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July 23, 2018 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Corduroy – “The Usual” Single Review

Corduroy are a locally based independent neo-soul group with links to Victoria University, having formed through the halls of residence last year. Their sound hints at something bigger than a humble jam-band between mates, however, and their new debut single “The Usual” is a testament to that.
“The Usual” showcases a sound that positions Corduroy within the realm of established popular Kiwi bands of the last few years – think Six60 or Drax Project, but with an indie-pop edge. Alongside the stellar chops displayed in the band, much of the appeal of Corduroy emanates from the sharp lyricism and singing displayed by vocalist Rosie Spearing, who shows a lot of potential as the voice of this group. On “The Usual”, Spearing’s voice carries a deep, soulful tone reminiscent of Lianne La Havas or Jorja Smith, set against a backdrop of bright, sound-of-the-moment neo-soul grooves and twangy guitars. It’s pretty cool. Lyrically, “The Usual” is a pretty direct sort of a song, which deals with some sort of break up where the vocalist is in the unenviable position of instigating the split. Spearing carries these lyrics with charisma and grit, and there are a handful of moments (particularly in the verses) where little moments of phrasing pop out and excite the listener. Spearing’s a great singer, and going forward it’ll be cool to hear what she can pry out of her already-solid lyricism from a phrasing point of view. Once you hear a great moment in a piece of music, and it’s followed with something that’s just as good, it leaves you wishing for more. Lots of potential in this though, and “The Usual” points to promising earworms and captivating performances to come. As for the band, they’re rock solid as well. Drummer Dean Gibson sits in the pocket, and seems to have a knack for knowing when to sit into the mix and when to showcase his chops. Simon Kenrick’s keys follow a similar trend – sitting into the mix to add to the overall texture of the piece, but providing more than a decent impact when they become more pronounced in the mix (as evident in the introduction/conclusion, and the bridge). Will Cole and Riley Barrett provide sturdy support on the guitar and bass respectively, and lovers of this new-school New Zealand sound will enjoy much of the twangy chorus-driven tone produced from this section of the band.
I think sometimes music reviewers in New Zealand can be a little guilty of overlooking certain facets of popular music in favour of experimentalism or obscure/angular music. I’m not saying there’s not a place for that sort of music. All I’m saying is that there’s a huge place in the market for a band like Corduroy, who perfectly encapsulate the lives of twenty-somethings, and the sound of New Zealand’s popular music sphere in 2018. There’s a reason popular music has that name, and it wouldn’t be wise to bet against Corduroy achieving a large degree of popularity in the near future. Jump on the bandwagon.


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