The Puddle

The Puddle - Songs For Emily Valentine Reviews

Otago Daily Times: 25/03/06

Songs for Emily Valentine.
Powertool Records.
**** (4 stars)

The Puddle's 1992 album Songs for Emily Valentine has been re-released by Powertool Records, presumably to provide a bit of marketing musicle behind a CD that deserves more attention than it initially received. There's a lot going on in each of the 13 slices of George Henderson pop madness, and repeated listening reveals a surprising wizardry to the arrangements.

The album finds Henderson at the height of his writing powers backed by a strong line-up that just manages to hold things together when shambles threatens (which has always been where the band's appeal lies). It is the brilliant, eccentricity of gems such as /Lucky All the Time/, /Southern Man/, /Political Sluts/ and /Season of the Wolf/ that make this a must have for any who've been touched by The Puddle's magic weirdness."

By Jeff Harford

The Puddle play the Crown Hotel Dunedin (photo by Gaylene)

Songs For Emily Valentine

New album out now on
Powertool Records

George D. Henderson: guitars, vocals
Richard K. Cotton: keyboards, samples
Vikki Wilkinson: bass guitar
Norman Dufty: drums

Engineer: Mike Stoodly
Assistant: Stephen Steadman

Special Guests: Celia Petal, Alan Starrett, Nick Prosser, Simon Grove, Rob Cloughley.

Left: George, circa late 20th century.

NZ Musician Vol 13 # 1 August /Sept 2006

Songs for Emily Valentine.
Powertool Records.

The Puddle have been around in one form or another since 1983, with singer / songwriter / guitarist George D. Henderson at the helm for the duration. Musicians who've passed through the Puddle ranks include Shayne Carter, Lesley Paris, Peter Gutteridge (Snapper). Celia Patel (aka Celia Mancini of King Loser) sings backing vocals on a number of tracks here on Puddle's 'lost album', originally recorded in 1992 but not released at the time as the band broke up. Now Powertool records have come to the rescue to show it the light of day. The music is lively alt-pop - it has been described as 'psych-pop' - and the standard bass / drums / guitar set-up is augmented by a range of instruments such as viola, glockenspiel, saxophone and keyboards. Samples from political speeches and rugby matches add further dimensions. The recording is relatively lo-fi but the songs shine, including the Puddle classic Southern Man, alongside other gems such as Lucky all the time, Mamelons d'Amadou, and You Are a Animal. Henderson is more than capable of crafting a fine pop tune

. . .Renee Jones

Noisyland (Real Groovy Records)

The Grandad of the column this month is The Puddle, who release their Songs For Emily Valentine album on Powertool. ...Emily Valentine was recorded in 1992, but got eaten by George Henderson's dog before it could be handed in to the teacher and has only now been dusted off for assessment. It's quite lengthy-at close to an hour-but pretty frequently delivers the goods with sneaky, angular rock which comes from a chilly sofa far, far away from Auckland. The often acknowledged 'Southern Man' is always agreeable enough, but there's better things to be found elsewhere - 'You Are A Animal' could find a place in The Bats impressive canon if they were to let farm animal samples in, and 'Exiles' shuffles along on a grazed riff until giving way to synths and a hint of the struggle, "our glorious past, erased and re-educated!". It's not all beer and skittles but Songs For Emily Valentine is a necessary piece of the New Zealand indie puzzle put in its place.

From netzine column Noisyland by Adrian Osman

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