When leading New Zealand ‘underground’ artist Derek Lind performed at last January’s Parachute Music Festival he gave us a taste of his not-yet released new album. That Saturday night at the festival the atmosphere was electric, charge with anticipation—an atmosphere reflected in this album, which bubbles with poetic honesty.
As with his previous releases, Stations has a distinctly New Zealand flavour. Here that flavour comes through most strongly in “My Grandfather,” Derek’s engaging recollection of his personal heritage, marvellously captured, while “Ukulele” also embraces his Rarotongan wife Ra’s family heritage.
Yet Lind’s vision is international too. His travels with Tear Fund around parts of Asia have resulted in a number of powerful, poignant songs throughout the years.
Most of this continent’s inhabitants live with violence, oppression and poverty, making Derek’s lifestyle, as he says on the album jacket, seem “petty” and very comfortable. This is indicated in the beautiful song “Nothing Looks The Same,” written in Manila: “I get to fly away/You get to stay”—a powerful reminder of our privileged global position which digs deep at the soul. What could I do in their situation? Can I help them?
The song “Lightening Strike” adopts another familiar Lind line: the angry, voice-in-the-wilderness prophetic denunciation of the American Christian music industry, of people living double lives. Yet this voice is heard less often on “Stations”, which opts by and large for a quieter, more intimate atmosphere, more akin to the song “Picture” on his Slippery Ground album.
In “Ukulele” Derek sings, “This was going to be a picture, but it turned into a song.” Derek Lind, once an art teacher himself, paints a number of deftly sketched, sharply realized pictures on this album, portraying real life situations in a thoughtful, stimulating and challenging way.
A very accessible album with warmth, backbone and integrity.
[First published in Reality magazine, formerly called “Today’s Christian”]