Robert Scott / Gina Rocco and the Rockettes Songs of Otago's Past / Sea Tulip

New Zealand must be a pretty small place because if you start tracing musical family trees, the same names come up again and again. Take Robert Scott, for instance. As part of both the Clean and the Bats, his place in Antipodean musical history is assured, but he continues to make interesting new music after more than 25 years. His latest solo effort is a bit of a departure from his previous work. Songs of Otago’s Past is a collection of traditional New Zealand folk songs from around 100 years ago. This has obviously been a labour of love for Scott and despite the inaccessibility of the project it is hard not to be pulled in by these tales of working class struggles, outlaws and immigrant life. Unfortunately the sincerity of the delivery and the sparseness of the arrangements make it hard to sit through, but isn’t that always the way with things that are good for you? Scott also appears on Sea Tulip, the new album from Gina Rocco and the Rockettes, so I guess that would make him a Rockette. He plays bass, sings a little and co-produced the record, although this is very much Gina’s show. Her jangly guitar songs would probably get blown away by the wind if it wasn’t for the band adding some weight to the proceedings. It stops her from being just another female singer-songwriter, but the most interesting songs on the CD are those that are more experimental and don’t have her singing at all. (Suburban Noize)