The Upshot: Distaff Dunedin rockers from the ‘80s have their debut reissue and expanded.
BY TIM HINELY
The all-female 5-piece from Dunedin were one of the most enchanting, bewitching (yup) bands on the Flying Nun roster and heck, 30 years on they still sound enchanting, unique…at times magical. It was in the mid-late ‘80s that I started getting turned on to many of the Flying Nun bands usually by friends or reviews in zines and I instantly fell in love with the label and its roster of bands (as I’ve mentioned many times on this site before) but this band was a mystery. Unlike the Chills, The Bats or the Clean they never toured the USA so none of us fans ever got to see them and only ever saw a few pictures of the band (which added to the mystery) and , in more recently years, some You Tube footage.
In their day the ladies released three EPs between the years 1985 and 1987: Bewitched, LBGPEP2 and This is This and promptly broke up. Guitarist Denise Roughan went on to many other N.Z. bands while drummer Lesley Paris ended up managing the Flying Nun label and the other three, Kath Webster, Kathy Bull and Norma O’Malley, who knows. Anyway after that long lead in I’m here to tell you that the Flying Nun label has graciously reissued these tracks and more (some live ones) on vinyl in a beautiful gatefold sleeve and its glorious (available on cd, too). It’s the original 14 songs plus 5 bonus live tracks. The music was poppy and jangly at times but their secret weapon Norma O’Malley who not only added keyboards to the tunes but also some well-placed flute that pushes the songs over the top. Also, the ladies harmonized perfectly and well, could just write some really terrific songs. Listen to ace pop cuts like “Safety in Crosswords,” “As Does the Sun” (for some of that flute), “Circumspect Penelope,” “Vain Hopes” and the crown jewel, the upbeat blast of “Cactus Cat.”
If you missed the boat the first time around and have even a passing interest in the Flying Nun label (or uhh… good music in general) then don’t miss Still Bewitched. It’s great.
DOWNLOAD: “Cactus Cat,” “Safety in Crosswords,” “As Does the Sun,” “Circumspect Penelope”