New Zealand’s Kody Nielson fronted the art-punk outfit The Mint Chicks for over eight years. Opossum feels like a much needed holiday, a permanent vacation where the sun always shines. His brother and Mint Chicks bandmate Ruben has made a similar cathartic decision, his vehicle being Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
Opossum’s debut is like peeling the lid on a can of sun-kissed psychedelia, where the rhythm’s bass-cones have perished in the heat, leaving an abused tweeter to run the beats. It opens with the soulful Girl where the bass line and Nielson’s 60’s styled hook are warped by the tripped production. Fly makes for even more stoned love, the break-beat is like a snared funk roll, as harmonised bliss tunefully flows across the scratched vinyl underlay. This feels like a set born from a new found freedom, Neilson revelling in the production.
Blue Meanies meanwhile pushes a big chorus through his warped approach, making for a true high. Why Why runs on a similar sized set of passages, sounding like The Who on a summer vacation.
But the constant exposure to the rays can become a little disorientating. This isn’t about clear cut melody. Neilson prefers to coat his words in a heady mix of sound. By the closing run you can start to feel a little lost, woozy, with nothing to hold you up.
Thankfully the final track Inhaler Song, which breathes similar psyched fumes as The Flaming Lips, brings a measured end to the set, and even hints at a more defined direction. Electric Hawaii is audio sunshine. Too much and you feel a little disorientated, but for the main you might as well bathe in the over-exposed rush of soul, funk and rock’n'roll, and worry about the after-effects later.