The concept of a Kiwi supergroup is great - it's just a shame that it's led by Barnaby Weir, whose major contribution to Kiwi music has been the paint-by-numbers preachiness of Wellington cafe reggae.
And that it's touted as the Kiwi-est thing since Split Enz, and lapped up with unquestioning enthusiasm by trilby-wearing trendoids.
This live album from the Pretties' last tour has some lovely vocal moments, courtesy of Mel Parsons, Mark Vanilau and Anika Moa.
But, like their previous work, it suffers from an overwhelming atmosphere of solemn purpose, from the psychedelic ennui of Riddles Havoc to the plodding folk-rock of Fatal Flaw and Headlights.
The tour was billed as "a unique story of our nation", but there's nothing distinctively Kiwi about the soul-funk pastiche of Train and Where Did All My People Go?, or the honky-tonk stylings of Beggin' On My Knees, Real Calm and Leave This Town.
New Zealand's a nice place to live, but the Pretties seem to be more about earnest pretension than celebration.
Best tracks: Far Away (Mel Parsons), Cry (Anika Moa)
- Reviews by Nick Ward; CDs for review from Everyman, Nelson.
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