Attic Sky’s and the phrase ‘TTO’ are inseparable – according to my flatmate (reputable source), it’s a ‘Whakatane thing’. Their inescapable small-town call-to-arms stands for ‘Taitamariki Tu Ora’ or ‘Young people steadfast on their feet’. And youth solidarity, by the sound of their music, is pretty damn steadfast. It’s unmistakably real, coming from one of New Zealand’s many small towns where ‘everyone knows everyone’ probably means you’re bound to write a song about someone you know. Music’s a pretty good reason for people who are stuck together to come together, and Attic Sky’s live it out with breathless energy – their ping-pong vocals and scratchy chants leap ahead much in the same way kids run more than they walk. They’ve been through a lot (high school!) together from early on, which goes to explain glaring apostrophic error in their name, which by now must surely be there intentionally. Age doesn’t matter, but Attic Sky’s are demonstrating a fucking cool way to use it.
The plonking bassline bleeds sentimentality all over the place in ‘A Word For Missing Something…’, where Attic Sky’s finally seem to have taken a break from their on-off-on-off blitz and settle comfortably into, in the words of Lee Ranaldo: ‘shouting the poetic truths of high school journal keepers’. It’s where they stand out, I think – you can’t get more genuine than beautifully unashamed. Instead of burying their voices in the mix, the power of their sincerity is enhanced by their sense of pride.
Attic Sky’s, along with their brethren from Ngatea, Tied On Teeth, seem to be proving that the most original stuff is coming out of the places without a need for the extensive cultural backdrop of the city. More and more of these bands are gaining recognition in the musical centres of NZ, but it’s not like they really need the attention – Attic Sky’s scored second place in Rockquest last year, which might be the only cool thing the nationwide competition has ever done. Definitely take the time to check out some of their other songs too – nobody could put the words “this is home, but there are better places to go” better than a small-town New Zealander. In a way, it sums up the connection a lot of people have in their head about New Zealand’s place in the wider world. So it’s all the more significant when Attic Sky’s use their real accents and their real surroundings to express their coming of age as they grow apart from the same things they grew up with. They’ve since split off to head to different universities around the country, but I’m hoping they’re wise enough to stick together as a band.
From 2007, Real Groove magazine released four Awesome Feeling compilations, showcasing a diverse and exciting range of underground local talent. The Corner decided to pick up on that for the fifth volume and we’re back again for round six. We’ll be revealing one new artist/track every weekday throughout May, and posting the entire compilation for download at the end of the month.