Around the Back of the World Tall Dwarfs Alchemised
“The New Zealand duo of Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate have influenced generations of lo-fi rockers. This 55-track [Tall Dwarfs] box set reminds us why,” Louis Pattison writes in a Pitchfork review of Unravelled: 1981-2002.
“The story of New Zealand rock music is a tale of isolation. For the young Kiwi musician, rock’n’roll was a familiar cultural language, but one separated by a whole lot of clear blue water. This distance engendered a degree of self-reliance, spawning bands, labels, and hyperlocal scenes, as well as a certain can-do sensibility. Thus was the case in 1981 when vocalist Knox and guitarist Bathgate – already veterans of two New Zealand bands, Dunedin punk upstarts the Enemy and the more polished, new-wave-inflected Toy Love – plugged in a TEAC 4-track reel-to-reel and started to record,” Pattison writes.
“Tall Dwarfs pull off a feat of alchemy [in Unravelled]. Around the back of the world, they took up makeshift instruments, wrote songs steeped in grit and gloom, and dropped something close to perfect pop straight onto a reel of magnetic tape.”
Original article by Louis Pattison, Pitchfork, August 20, 2022.