ANDY PALMER and BRANNAVAN GNANALINGAM review three New Zealand albums in brief: Pine, Twelve Hour Collision; Hollie Smith, Long Player; Brian Platt, Eleven Steps.

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Pine: Twelve Hour Collision

FOLLOWING suit, Christchurch band Pine released a new CD/EP with a bunch of new songs, a couple of old songs, and a handful of videos during New Zealand Music month in May. I fell in love with Pine the moment I heard their first single ‘Speeding’ back in 2001. Since then they’ve released one EP and two albums. A trio of guitar, drums, and keyboards they write beautiful, simple pop. There is a sixties sensibility to the songs, but they are undoubtedly contemporary vignettes about modern life and loves. The opening chords of the EP are patented Pine and tell us it is business as usual. That’s not a bad thing. There is definitely a place for the unheralded pop of Pine. If nothing else it never ceases to put a smile on my face. And when they hit the mark, they hit it precisely. Unfortunately this EP doesn’t quite hit the mark as often as their earlier releases. ‘Hosannah’ would count as my least favourite Pine track. The bonus live cuts don’t add any value either. This EP is Pine being Pine, a pleasant enough experience but by no means essential. Hopefully it’s just a stop gap while we wait for the next album.—Andy Palmer

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Hollie Smith: Long Player

A GREAT voice does not a great album make. There’s something missing in Smith’s soul songs – when the likes of Aretha Franklin sing, you feel like they’re performing for their life every time. No doubt this will prove popular, but to me this is white bread with the crusts cut off.—Brannavan Gnanalingam

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Brian Platt: Eleven Steps

Eleven Steps is the type of music Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant were making fun of when David Brent pulled out his guitar in The Office. It’s unfortunate because Brian Platt in the press stuff seems like a nice guy, and there are some nice melodies, but overall the music is earnest, mawkish, and middle of the road. Brooke Fraser fans should apply.—Brannavan Gnanalingam