The first thing you notice about You’ve Got To Hear The Music is the contrast to its predecessor, I Believe You Are A Star. Star was an understated and dark debut that pulsed and ebbed in its fusion of rock, electronica and soul. Music indicates from the outset a new direction for Dimmer; it’s upbeat for a start, the vocals more prominent and personal, the sound more melodious. And, it’s an absolute gem.
Dimmer is not so much a band as it is a musical vehicle for Shayne Carter, a legendary figure of NZ music, most notably as front man of Straitjacket Fits. With Music Carter continues his ‘post-rock’ sound, though adding much more depth, texture, and definition to his sound. It’s perhaps more accessible than Star, though that doesn’t necessarily mean more pop conscious.
Highlights are many, often featuring a who’s who of New Zealand music. The single ‘Getting What You Give’, gets a good kickstart by the horn section of Fat Freddy’s Drop. ‘Only One That Matters’ is an interestingly personal piece with a stunning strings arrangement from Graeme Downes of The Verlaines. Also contributing are Bic Runga and Anika Moa, who provide shadowy backing vocals on several tracks. The killer track for me however, is ‘Searching Time’, driven by the most unsettling of bass lines, reigned-in percussion and Carter’s softly vocals.
With Dimmer’s second album we are witness to one of New Zealand’s greatest musicians at the top of his game. Bordering on instant classic status, it rightly deserves the high praise it has been attracting. You’ve Got To Hear The Music? Damn straight.