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Popular People Do Popular People


A vinyl issue of The Prophet Hens debut album, Popular People Do Popular People, originally released on CD in 2013. Hatched from Dunedin's dreamy but dark 21st century pop underground, The Prophet Hens bring a ghostly reminder of the decaying southern city's musical past, when bands crafted melodic, chiming jangle-pop in seedy bars. The band, and the songs on the album, started when songwriter and guitarist Karl Bray was laid up at home recovering from major surgery to repair an ankle he'd smashed up while escaping a night-time mugging in downtown Dunedin. He jumped over a wall to get away, and, in the darkness, fell twelve feet. The album was recorded with Penelope Esplin (keyboards & vocals), John White (of Mestar, The Blueness, on bass) and Sefton Holmes (Black Yoghurt, on drums). The current line-up of the band sees Karl and Penelope joined by Robin Cederman on bass and Darren Stedman (The Verlaines) on drums. The Prophet Hens music is marinated in the melodic sounds of that mostly fictional "Dunedin Sound" - think The Chills, The Bats, Magick Heads plus a little bit of The Clean and The Orange. But the combination of Karl's and Penelope's voices adds extra magic. US music blog The Finest Kiss, after making it their #2 album of 2013, described their popular debut: "New Zealand's Prophet Hens sort of came out of nowhere and swept me off of my feet with their Chills meets Belle and Sebastian pop alchemy. Both of those bands are highly regarded and the Prophet Hens may be better than both. Granted they haven't written a Pink Frost yet, but many of the songs here are nearly as memorable and lead me to believe that they just might have something of the Pink Frost caliber in them." More praise from Did Not Chart (UK): "Perfectly encapsulates the big bold ambition of Dunedin music with the quiet drama of isolation on a South Pacific island: part Chills organ-drenched pop, part bedroom angst".