On the heels of his stellar memoir Time Flowing Backwards, voted by Pitchfork as one of the 10 best music books of 2019, legendary New Zealand musician Graeme Jefferies’ next chapter in sound -- Trouble Again in this Town -- is at last ready to go. This is Jefferies’ first new Cakekitchen release in 4 years and the first domestic release in the USA in 9 years. The album continues the wayward path first exposed by his early Flying Nun solo album Messages for the Cakekitchen, but manages to cross the border of limitations imposed by old 1980s technology so that his familiar messages become something new altogether.
The album was recorded on a portable 16 track that Graeme transports from one end of the globe to the other. It retains touchstones to his past work but still sounds up to date and current at the same time. He utilizes fragments of TEAC 4 track “found sound” recordings to masterful effect and wedges original musical pieces into unexpected and interesting places. The new material is reminiscent at times of his groundbreaking work with New Zealand pioneers This Kind of Punishment.
Graeme plays all the instruments on the release (guitar, piano, viola, cello, drums, bass) and recorded all the songs over a period of years in various houses and hallways in New Zealand, Germany and Australia. His meticulous “take as long as it takes” approach to making records ensures a very wide pallet of sound. A rainbow of colors can be heard in his music, and although the material was initially conceived on either guitar or piano, by the time he has completed a recording, the arrangement is usually pretty special—complex and unlike any other person’s version of man at the microphone -- one with no deadline and all the time in the world.
In recent years, The Cakekitchen has concentrated primarily on the European market where Graeme lived and worked for a number of years. Although a lot of his older work has been re-released recently by Superior Viaduct and Dais in the USA, this is the first domestic release of new material in America in quite some time. Trouble Again in this Town taps a similar vein from Graeme’s landmark Cakekitchen albums released by Homestead and Merge and is a welcome addition to his catalogue of music.
A new two piece live version of the group featuring Brett Jones of the Nocturnal Projections toured Germany and Belgium in April of 2019, playing a large cross section of Cakekitchen, This Kind of Punishment and Nocturnal Projections songs to appreciative audiences. Graeme and Brett continue to work on new material together and plan to tour again when possible. The two piece (turn on a dime) line up, first showcased in the USA with French multi-instrumentalist Jean-Yves Douet, suits the live format of the group and works well on the new material as well.
The Cakekitchen have released 15 full-length albums and several ep’s throughout the span of their career, producing some of the most dynamic and unique music to come out of New Zealand, Europe, and the US during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. With Trouble Again in this Town, Graeme continues his prolific arc of stellar songwriting while producing a unique sonic soundscape for these anxious times in which we live. The new album features the single-worthy title track, anchored by great cuts like “Fall to Bits” and “Too Little Too Late.” Exclusive to the vinyl release is a not-to-be missed cover of the maddening Paul and Linda McCartney song “Monkberry Moon Delight.