Stefan Geoffrey Neville has been making music under the Pumice moniker since 1991. The New Zealander's latest release, the "Persevere" 7" collects three of the latest recordings from Neville, fresh off of his recent sabbatical.
Neville has spent the last eighteen years carving out his own musical niche, his recordings ranging from pop to noise. After his extensive worldwide tour in 2007-2008, Neville took some time off, only to resurface again in 2009 on a split with dream-folk darling, Grouper. Neville gives everyone a reminder of his Pumice sound on the opening track of "Persevere," entitled "The Dawn Chorus of Kina". This side A track is the only Neville original on the record, and one he says is an ode to singing sea urchin in New Zealand. In any case, the song is fuzzed-out, murky noise pop that transitions to a light post-rock jam in the span of four minutes.
Flipping this one to side B yields two cover songs. The first is a cover of Michael Hurley's 1970 folk song, "Open Up." Neville's take retains the spirit of the original-- lo-fi folk broadcast live from the basement of a rustic cabin. The second is The Axemen's "Pacific Ocean." In yet another homage to a like-minded artist, Neville's weary vocal chords and ukulele are the predominant instruments in this stripped down folk piece.
This 7" is only a small taste of Pumice as Neville continues to whet the appetites of his longtime followers. While it would have been nice to hear a few more original songs, this is a solid 7" record. If you're into Neville's experiments, then I probably shouldn't even have to tell you to pick this one up. 7/10 -- Robert Oberlander (17 September, 2009)