Album: The Ruby Suns, Sea Lion (Memphis Industries)

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The Independent Culture

On their self-titled 2006 debut, New Zealand's Ruby Suns combined a serious Brian Wilson fixation with the African memories of their well-travelled expatriate Californian leader Ryan McPhun to create a kind of antipodean indie-prog-rock.

On this, McPhun continues to draw on his African experiences – with songs about Kenyan friends, "Ole Rinka" and "It's Mwangi In Front of Me", and another Wilsonian wedding-cake production for "Kenya Dig It?" – while weaving in strains of Polynesian folk music.

"Oh, Mojave" hymns the Californian desert with South Seas ukulele and silky harmonies over a tricky handclap beat, while "Tane Mahuta" pays tribute to New Zealand's oldest tree via a Polynesian choral reverie streaked with swooning trombone over an engaging staccato groove.

With the sleigh bells, droning organ, toytown horns and soaring counterpoint harmonies of "Remember", and the shimmering haze of birdsong and marimba of "Morning Sun", Sea Lion explores musical regions as varied and remote as McPhun's travels, and just as fascinating.

Download this: 'Remember', 'Morning Sun', 'Oh, Mojave', 'Kenya Dig It?'