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  • Jia Sharma

REVIEW: Blunt Dog: Bullet Train to Dunedin

Words by: Jia Sharma (she/her)

Blunt Dog is a band I’ve been hearing about since the start of the year, but until recently, I hadn’t come across any of their gigs. So, when I found out they were playing at San Fran a couple of weeks ago and that I had the chance to write about them, I jumped at the opportunity. The rarity of Blunt Dog’s gigs all made sense when I discovered that the band is split between Auckland and Wellington. This logistical challenge requires them to strategically time and organise trips for both performances and recording sessions. Luckily, I caught them during one of these trips.

In addition to playing an Eyegum Wednesday at San Fran, Blunt Dog spent the weekend recording their upcoming album at the Massey University studio. The album, titled Bullet Train To Dunedin, promises a warm and unpolished sound reminiscent of old home recordings. This album marks a significant departure from their first album, How is a Dog So Honest?. The new tracks, primarily derived from guitarist and vocalist Dom’s demos, are both harder and softer, expanding on the range of their earlier work. The album concept originated from drummer Logan’s whimsical idea of a Japanese bullet train travelling from Britomart station in Auckland to Dunedin, described by the band as “a moment of genius and a passage of jest.”

Blunt Dog played some of their new songs at their show at San Fran, which the crowd absolutely loved. I remember barely being able to see the back of the room because of how full it was. The vocal harmonies throughout their songs were a standout for me.  Based on the new songs I heard, Bullet Train To Dunedin is definitely an album to watch for.

I’m particularly intrigued by how the band operates with members split between two cities. Their first album was recorded before half the band moved to Auckland, but as they described, “the internet is magic”. While they are separate, they practise their individual parts until they can align gigs and recording sessions to happen within the same week. Guitarist and vocalist Simon attributes their successful collaboration to a “shared understanding and love of the songs.”

The album is set to release in late 2024, but in the meantime, I highly recommend listening to their first album, which came out on Spotify last year. If you’re keen on an album that channels “utopian ideals of public infrastructure” and want to be part of the start of the bullet train to Dunedin movement, keep an eye on Blunt Dog.


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