Into The East – Fight From the Inside
There is no denying Liv and Graeme are brilliant wordsmiths…
The album begins with a triumphant ‘All things must past’ from The Perfect Stormers, perhaps a small tip of the hat to the Beatles, or maybe a precursor of songs to come – each dealing in some degree to love, loss or longing.
Its hard to believe the number of locations this album was recorded in – the mix is fairly consistent across all track except the lead video single ‘On The Run‘, which sounds somewhat over produced to the rest of the album. I’m impressed how Graeme mixed and recorded everything himself, though he needs to be a little more generous with the volume on his own vocals sometimes, which tend to be swallowed up by the backing instruments – Liv having no such issues, sounds excellent throughout the entire recording. This is not a hi-tech production by any standards, but it is immersive, and that’s more important.
From the pages of credits on the CD cover, it is clear Fight From the Inside wasn’t a solo project. Compiled over 15 months, what could have easily fragmented, has turned into a well scripted and balanced collection – and if by design or happenstance, there is a story to follow if you listen closely.
Liv and Graeme both have wonderful voices, effortless harmonies, somewhat Simon and Garfunklish (new word for the day), but not a lyrical cliche to be found – yay. Some of this can be attributed to their 15 years playing and touring together, but mostly it is down to just good ol-fashioned talent ‘n writing skills.
There are some beautiful songs here, each blending well into the next – plus one or two surprises to be found (spoiler alert) – a jingle bell solo in ‘How Could I Have Known‘ and also a strange ‘Lion King-meets-Louis Armstrong on LSD‘ section in the bridge of ‘Perfect Storm‘ – brilliant stuff!
…and if nothing else, this shows the duo’s sense of humor and willingness to push the boundaries a little.
Highlights for me are no undoubtedly ‘What I Have Done‘ and ‘Mullum‘, near perfect balance of arrangement, lyric and production – though ‘Black Hills Dakota‘ deserves special merit for Graeme’s outstanding vocal treatment. The before mentioned ‘Perfect Storm‘ is a cool stamp-fest hoe-down outro. Sure you can listen on Spotify, but you will be well rewarded to buy the hard copy CD which features a lyric book and excellent artwork by Hanna Isaac.
Is Fight From the Inside a Kiwi classic? Only time will tell. If Liv and Graeme can produce more work like this, Into The East will undoubtedly brand their southlander charm into the halls of NZ music history, then we can leave it up to the future music boffins to argue what their quintessential album really was.