Goldenhorse Riverhead

With a guitar pop style reminiscent of the Sundays and early releases by the Cardigans and the Darling Buds, this five-piece from New Zealand sound remarkably accomplished on this debut release. Collecting some previously released singles such as "Golden Dawn” and the breezy "Maybe Tomorrow,” Riverhead is making the bold move beyond its small island home, and rightfully so. Having the homeland support of the legendary Finn brothers certainly helps. At the heart of the album is the confident vocals of Kirsten Morrelle, who can push out the bright melodies with passion, and hold back when the mood softens. With a leaning towards traditional folk pop, the album’s 11 songs won’t necessarily excite hipsters looking for a musical challenge, but the songs themselves are strong enough to be worthy of a closer look. Some songs such as "Baby’s Been Bad” can get overly cute, and the lyrical subject matter is somewhat simplistic, but as a whole this is a good album and serves as a good introduction to a talented group from the other side of the world. (Aquarius)