Various Artists

Kiwi Classics, Vol. 2

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Volume two of the four-disc Kiwi Classics series of New Zealand pop singles is a real letdown from the first. Kiwi Classics, Vol. 1 was an often-fascinating mix of garagey '60s pop and oddball cover choices. Kiwi Classics, Vol. 2 focuses more on '70s material, and the cover choices are far less interesting. The world did not need more covers of "Gloria," and the sound-alike versions of "The Twist" by Herma Keil and "Tell Laura I Love Her" by the Creation (not the freakbeat group from London, obviously) are inessential. Bunny Walters' cover of the schlock hit "Brandy" (not the Looking Glass song about the guy whose life, love, and lady is the sea, but the piano ballad better known to U.S. audiences as Barry Manilow's retitled breakthrough hit "Mandy") is as, well, schlocky as the others. But there's good stuff to be had here, like the Simple Image's cover of Gary Zekley's sunshine pop gem "The Grooviest Girl in the World," Dinah Lee's nonsensical call-and-response ditty "Don't You Know Yockomo," and Space Waltz's Split Enz-inspired glam pop hit "Out in the Street," this set's best track. The gloriously fake bubblegum boogie "Good Morning, Mr. Rock and Roll" (complete with flute solo) by the Headband and the goofy folk-pop "Aunty Alice (Brought Us This)" by Hogsnort Rupert are also worth a look. The rest of this disc can be dumped without a second thought, unfortunately.

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