New Zealand’s Dave Baxter, the man behind this particular city of avalanches, is the ultimate boy-next-door. He is honest, simple and straight-out adorable. He comes to your house with a bunch of flowers from your own garden, a goofy-ass grin and a banjo. You can’t help giving in to that kind of clean and innocent charm. The debut album from Baxter and his band follows the folk-pop recipe perfectly: with nods to the crisp honesty of Whitley, the layered harmonies of The Middle East, and the rollicking, foot-tapping, gosh-damn-that-banjo of Mumford & Sons. But what I love about Avalanche City is that they are okay with being clean-cut recipe followers: nothing about their music tries to be anything it’s not. Sure, some of the lyrics are cheesier than your favourite quattro formaggi special, the melodies are simple, and the whole shebang follows every staple pop rule-of-thumb there is. There are glockenspiel jingles, grand sing-a-long “love, love, love”s and lyrics about squeezing out that last little bit of toothpaste as a romantic gesture. (Yes, really). While it may cut close to the border of just-too-awkward with its squeaky clean honesty, ‘Our New Life Above The Ground’ ultimately wins us over with its cheeky Kiwi charm.
‘Our New Life Above The Ground’ is out through Warner Music.