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coverpic flag New Zealand - Full Moon 206 - 06/23/13

Peter Jefferies
The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World
De Stijl (2013) / (Xpressway, 1990)

I first bought The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World in 1995/96, which was remastered (by Jefferies himself) for a new and improved version (1995), launched by the charming label Ajax Records (who released the album in 1992 as well). The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World was originally put out as a cassette via the Xpressway label of Port Chalmers, New Zealand, in 1990. It's now re-released by De Stijl - making it available for the third time (not counting the 1st cassette edition...). Included you'll find the "The Fate of the Human Carbine" b/w "Catapult" 7" songs (which were also included on the Ajax releases).

Peter Jefferies started out in the post-punk band Nocturnal Projections and the more experimental This Kind Of Punishment, both along with his brother Graeme. Further in his career he's been involved with numerous projects and collaborations, but his outstanding work is The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World. The personnel on board were (all from NZ's South Island): Bruce Russell, Michael Morley and Robbie Yeats (all three being members of the Dead C), David Mitchell (3Ds), Alastair Galbraith, Kathy Bull (Look Blue Go Purple, Cyclops), Nigel Taylor and Robbie Muir. This is the real sound of the underground. Distorted and dirty, electric and ecstatic, lo-fi and scrawny, intense and incensed, crooked and cluttered, wild and wonderful. But, filled with fascinating, strong songs.

As a cheap and simper description I'd say imagine a wild, late-late night jam by The Velvet Underground, but in fact it's very hard to describe the music. One might label it as pure post-punk claustrophobia by a moody, pain-torned singer/songwriter. Favourite tracks? Highlights? it's quite tough to pick a few, and I suggest/recommend listening through the record from start-to-stop, form the beginning to the end for yourself, just to experience it. Some songs sounds out of tune, out of pitch. Probably on purpose just to pierce your ears and to grab your attention. Peter Jefferies has for sure got a sandblasted voice. Faves of mine are the title track and the brutal "The Other Side Of Reason", plus the piano ballad "On an Unknown Beach", the chaotic "Guided Tour of a Well Known Street", and the single "The Fate of the Human Carbine".

"It's "one of the singular singer-songwriter albums of all time, existing on a sparsely populated plane with Pink Moon, I Often Dream of Trains, Blues Run the Game, Our Mother the Mountain and not many others." (DJ Mike Wolf, NYC, 2013). Mr Wolf also writes: "...small glories rendered in tones both harrowing and tender", which is quite an accurate summary.

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