A small town in New Zealand, Dunedin was ostensibly put on the map in the early '80s and on by the work of bands like the Verlaines, the Clean, the Dead C, the Chills, and many others. Throughout the '80s, early '90s, and in some cases decades later, these bands and the Flying Nun label many of them were affiliated with comprised the scene of jangly, melancholic, and forward-reaching sounds that paved the way for alternative and early indie rock. Dunedin’s history of killer bands didn’t stop in the mid-'90s, and small label Fishrider Records showcases some of the newer wave of talent with Temporary: Selections from Dunedin’s Pop Underground 2011-2014, a compilation that features 13 independent Dunedin bands that span a wide range of styles. The high levels of originality throughout Temporary are refreshing, as the compilation chooses to bound between homespun bedroom pop, feedback-heavy space rock, and noisy punk rather than just focus on bands reliving the Flying Nun sound. There is still some of the cloistered, melancholic spirit and the sticky melodies that bands like the Clean or the Bats perfected. The gentle acoustic guitar jangle and boy-girl vocal trade-offs of Trick Mammoth's “Home Video” sound like Connor Oberst covering a Lemonheads B-side in kiwipop style, and Kane Strang's lovely lo-fi submission “Winded” carries the same somber four-track psychedelia of Tall Dwarfs and the unhinged key changes of early Of Montreal. Astro-Children offer the phaser-drenched alien love song “Gaze,” spreading the stylistic direction of Temporary even thinner. Luckily, the comp stops short of being a free-for-all, offering an eclectic look at a particular phase of Dunedin’s ever-thriving D.I.Y. scene but not devolving into an open-mike night. Highlights far outweigh weaker tracks, with beaming standouts like the soft chamber pop of the Shifting Sands' “All the Stars” showing that Dunedin’s legacy of strangely beautiful, hand-crafted music never stopped.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas