Able Tasmans – A Cuppa Tea and a Lie Down

In contrast to some of their louder peers on Flying Nun, Able Tasmans boast a more acoustic jangle-pop focused sound that’s fleshed out nicely with keys. That doesn’t leave them by any means delicate, as opener “What Was That Thing” will attest. The band is more just as likely to indulge in a gorgeous strum as they are to incorporate wild and cathartic yelps and they push and pull between ecstatic and contemplative over the course of the album. They jumped onto the Flying Nun roster with The Tired Sun EP, which is included in Cap Tracks’ expanded reissue, followed up by the “Buffaloes” single, whose A-side is also incorporated into the expanded package here. This stands as their magnum opus, a gem of a sprawling album that pushes all over the map of Dunedin jangle at the time (though they were in fact from Whangarei), pulling in catchy charms, spastic angst, and even more experimental bits of spoken word collage. It stands as a true highlight in the Flying Nun catalog.

The band would follow it three years later with the more compact Hey Spinner! and push on into the nineties before disbanding. The later works don’t have the same impact as this debut, which pulled the Dunedin sound out of its guitar rut and into something of an update with their focus on keys as an integral part of their sound. A nice package from Captured Tracks’ diligent efforts to reissue key parts of the Nun catalog for sure and the extras make a nice bonus to the original album, giving it a bit of context as to where the band were leading up to its creation.



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