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Jamie McDell: Six Strings and a Sailboat - review

Nov 18, 2013 Music

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It had to happen sometime: someone manufacturing a New Zealand twist on Taylor Swift. As it happened, she just happened along.

McDell, however, is a yacht-loving 20-year-old Aucklander who grew up in Mangawhai, and whose debut refracts her tentative city forays back to the idealised wild beauty of the sea.

While Swift’s power pop is pricked at the edges with a little country, McDell’s is more typically singer-songwriter fare with a hint of folk and a certain blandness that conjures images of the Parachute festival.

It’s all very pleasant, and at its best when breaking out into a reggae lope on “You’ll Never Take That Away”, but the thing sags a little when it should be catching the drift, and it’s very close to being sunk at times by adolescent lyrics like “I’ve gone a little crazy because you’re so amazing.”

It’s nice having a local Taylor Swift with an eco bent but, for now, it’s back to the brig.

First published Metro, December 2012

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