It is not often that I plagiarise my own reviews, especially when it was only a few weeks ago that the original review appeared, but here I am going to make an exception. There I wrote about the latest single by Aro, “Know How”, and here we have the same song but with the vocals in Te Reo instead of English and a cover which is from the same photoshoot but slightly adjusted. This means all the words I said last time still apply, except for me there is something magical about this language, and when in the hands of Aro lifts their music even further. It has been released in this form as a celebration of NZ Music Month (which is every May) and takes on new life and depth.
Husband-and-wife duo Charles (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Te Ata, Te Ati Awa) and Emily Looker (née Rice) create music packed full of harmonies which is like no other, with their love for each other and their culture clearly in everything they do. Charles’ acoustic guitar is incredibly striking here, with the picked refrain having a hard strike which works incredibly well with the vocals. It commences with both of them singing together in a manner which is much simpler than what I normally expect from them, but gradually it builds until we are getting layers upon layers. At one point this all drops away and it is just Charles, and then we are straight back with the complexity and style I have come to expect, even in the live environment.
Lyrically this is a song of hope, about the future. They say, “Sometimes, focusing on putting one foot in front of the other is the best we can do. We wrote this song last year when something didn’t go the way we had hoped, which gave us the opportunity/the need to see things with a fresh perspective, like a blank canvas. Through that time we reminded ourselves that everything was going to be okay, as we know who we are, we know where we come from and we’ll figure out where we’re going as we do, as things unfold.” It is a powerful message, delivered in their world where their love for each other and their voices combine to create something very special indeed. For lovers of beautiful music, whatever genre they normally listen to. 10/10 Kev Rowland