Bilders

Bilders Vol. 2: Beatin Hearts

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Like the Bilders collections surrounding it, Beatin Hearts catalogs yet another period in the unfocused but rather prolific output of New Zealand's Bill Direen, who hopped from project to project without a great deal of ambition, but with a songwriting prowess that's among New Zealand's pop best. The majority of the work collected on Beatin Hearts teams Direen with Malcom Grant, Campbell McLay, Chris Knox, and Mike Dooley (all of whom made their marks in slightly more stable outfits), which lends a certain consistency to the record's sound that's absent on the highly scattered Bilders Vol. 1 -- Max Quitz -- for the most part, Beatin Hearts lays out Direen's near-perfect pop compositions in the stripped-down form they sound best in, and the results are simply spectacular. It's even tempting to say that Direen's unstable recording output is preferable to a series of solid and serious albums -there's a surprising wealth of great tunes on all of Flying Nun's Bilders collections, and there's a definite charm in picking through them and tracing Direen's progression from project to project.

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