Reviews for Bird In Bush Road

Bird in Bush Road Otis Mace It’s hard to believe it’s been twelve years since Otis Mace’s last full-length studio outing, Quick; in music as in cheese, good things take time. Bird in Bush Road feels like a companion volume to the previous album, a complementary selection of songs honed in live performance committed to disc. Musically the album is similarly eclectic, blending gentle folkish ballads with unabashed rock and roll and pyschobilly excursions. These days Otis has a full band at his disposal, the Moon Cresta, but for the most part the arrangements are stripped back, bringing his uniquely expressive voice and assured guitar to the fore. He still has an ear for memorable melodies, as in the serpentine “Anita” and “Serena Plus One” that close the album. These pop-inclined numbers, like the rollickingly sarcastic “That Kind of Attention”, could equally well have been written for Billy Bragg. A new version of “Horrorshow” is a fuzzy, throaty howl to earlier times. There are echoes of Dunedin in the two-chord verses and asymmetric solos of “Anything Else” and “Serena Plus One”. Lyrically there is a self-deprecating sense of humour underlying the pieced together moments, satirical characters and flights of fancy. “Dirty Coward Angel” jumps whooping and hollering on the next train south, pausing only to molest a saxophone. “Mad as a Balloon” is a manic-depressive reverie of parental angst, while “Zazz and the Monster” lopes along with a trash-talking boogie swagger. Otis Mace is up there with the likes of Bob Brannigan (Shaft) and James Moore (the Lure of Shoes), a well-established local artist with a distinctively original approach to rock and roll. Bird in Bush Road is both a delight for fans, and full of surprises for the unacquainted. If you don’t have it already, do yourself a favour and get Quick as well. - Roland Brownlee