The return of some heroes

SIMON SWEETMAN
Last updated 10:04 15/08/2014

I've mentioned Shihad a few times on this blog - how much I loved the doco, how they're one of the world's best live acts and how I haven't found a new Shihad album to dig in quite some time.

So now we have the band's new record, FVEY. And I was excited to hear this - sure. Interested in hearing it, certainly. There'd been a lot of hype - a lot of talk around this as a "return to their roots" album. That talk, for me, first started when I interviewed Jaz Coleman last year. Trying to keep him on topic - or on planet Earth in fact - would be anyone's trickiest task. And in a wide-ranging conversation (he was brilliant to speak to by the way, you just stand back and let him go...) he mentioned that he was going to be at the helm of the new Shihad album and that he was so sure he could fix them, could make them sound like their old selves.Shihad

Then, earlier this year, I interviewed Jon Toogood and though that was ostensibly about his role in a musical/cabaret show for the arts festival we did talk a bit about FVEY; he backed up Coleman's claims and agreed with the general aims; it was a return to Shihad's rocking best.

So now I'm curious to know what you think. The album's out. And I've reviewed it here (and today a shorter capsule-review will appear in The Dominion Post newspaper too). I pretty much can't fault it. It is the best Shihad album in 15 years.

They're still - and always - a great live band. So I'm looking forward to hearing these songs performed on what I'm imagining will be a pretty kick-ass summer tour.

But how do you feel about this new Shihad album? Is it great? Or do you not care at all? Have you heard it and you didn't like it? Overrated? Undercooked? Or living up to - and beyond - the hype? What are your thoughts on this album?

I've also just previewed Phil Judd's new album, Play It Strange. You can click that link and go toPhil Judd his Bandcamp page to download the album for a tenner - or for $20 you get the download and a signed CD. Regular readers will know that my interview with Phil Judd was one of the first long, serious pieces here at Blog On The Tracks. One of the interviews I'd always wanted to do and had chased for a while.

And it was back then, a half decade ago, that Judd reckoned he had one more album in him. A good one too - he was sure of that. But it was going to take a while. His new album sees him very much returning to his roots in a sense.

Three other ex-Split Enz members join him at various points on the album. And the title track - a song that dates back to the very early Split Enz, available in demo-form only, performed live a handful of times but never put down on one of the Enz records - has been rebuilt and, I guess, finally finished. It's yet another Judd masterpiece.

Hearing these two records this week - Shihad's FVEY and Phil Judd's Play It Strange - made me very happy. It's nice, as a fan, to feel rewarded.

Here's my review of FVEY by Shihad and my preview of Phil Judd's Play It Strange album.

Are you interested in checking out these albums? Have you heard them already? What are your thoughts, if any, on the new material by Shihad and news of a new Judd album? 

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