Thin Red Line – Simplicity

Thin Red Line
1986 Ode Records
Auckland, New Zealand

Dave White
Fiona Masters
Steven Thomas

Side 1:

  1. Whakarongo
  2. Simplicity
  3. Love Song

Side 2:

  1. Poet & Peasant
  2. Clock
  3. Nicky

This is Thin Red Line’s 4th demo, following the Thin Red Line Ep and followed by Lie of the Land. The sound here is along the same lines as their past demos, with an experimental alternative rock sound that addresses many pressing social issues of the time (which are, unfortunately, probably still needing to be addressed today). To my ears, this demo sounds a bit more experimental and focused on male vocals than the last demo – but like that one, Dave and Fiona trade off lead vocals from song to song. Also of note is that this EP and the self-titled one before it were also released on vinyl – which is the source of the images above. This particular rip came from a compilation tape of three Thin Red Line demos.

Thin Red Line – Thin Red Line EP

Thin Red Line
Thin Red Line EP
1985 Ode Records
Auckland, New Zealand

Dave White
John Kennedy
Karen Rush
Steven Thomas

Side 1:

  1. Life Blood
  2. Daddy’s Song

Side 2:

  1. Ethiopian Dream
  2. Spectre

So the collection I am digitizing has a tape that was a dub of three of the Thin Red Line demos. But it was a weird copy that had the left channel nearly muted. If you listened closely, there were distinct instruments on the left side that should be heard. So I had to crank up the left channel, remove the massive hiss that this created, realize that the music sounded funny, and then copy the left and right channel over to the other channel. The result was… okay. There is some digital distortion from removing the hiss. Not too much. I may also make a mix without cranking up the left channel. But anyways, this is the third demo by Thin Red Line, a year after Seclusions Paradise and a year before Simplicity. Simplicity and Lie of the Land were also on this mix tape, but I have a real copy of Lie of the Land that digitized well. The sound here is the same as the others – male and female-fronted alternative rock with some experimental and indigenous influences along with socially conscious lyrics. Dave White went on the form The Clear and Lung, both of which sound different from this. The image above is from the vinyl version of this release.

Thin Red Line – Lie of the Land

Thin Red Line
Lie of the Land
1987 Ode Records
Auckland, New Zealand

Dave White – Vocals, Keyboards
Greg Finucane – Guitar
Valerie Wycoff – Performer
Kirsten Finucane – Bass, Vocals
Jim Lovell-Smith – Performer

Side 1:

  1. Women Watch
  2. Tearoha
  3. Trick or Treaty
  4. Black Thoughts
  5. Potiki

Side 2:

  1. Election
  2. Fingerprints
  3. She is More Than Yellow Stone
  4. Newsprint
  5. Prophet-Man
  6. A Still Small Voice

I believe this is the last demo by Thin Red Line before Dave White formed The Clear. The sound here is still the lighter alternative rock that the band has been doing on the past four demos (Equinox, Seclusions Paradise, Thin Red Line EP, and Simplicity) but many songs (like “Election”) pick up the aggression and alternative edge a lot more on this demo – pointing towards The Clear and even Lung. There are also several world and reggae leanings here, and several deeply political messages about indigenous groups in New Zealand. It also seems like there is a greater trade-off between male and female vocals on this demo when compared to past ones, but I could be remembering that wrong.

Thin Red Line – Equinox

Thin Red Line
1983 (no label)
Palmerston North, New Zealand

Karen Rush – Vocals
Dave White – Keyboards
Des Wilson – Lead guitar, acoustic solo on “River Song”, bass on “Warheads”
John O’Sullivan – Acoustic guitar
Catherine Wallace – Flute
Don Loveday – Bass
Peter Clark – Drums

Side 1:

  1. The Dominion
  2. Cousin Biko
  3. Warheads

Side 2:

  1. Equinox
  2. River Song
  3. Crossways

This appears to be one of the earliest bands from Dave White, who went on to form such bands as The Clear and Lung. However, this is far from the aggressive punk/thrash/industrial/etc music he came known for later. This is female fronted rock with slight alternative, reggae, etc leanings here and there. The songs are mostly acoustic guitar based, but with prominent keyboard and flute in many songs. Kind of a unique combination. This demo was recorded in December 1983, so I am not sure if it was released before 1984 rolled around or not. They went on to release 3-4 more demos after this one before calling it a day. The first one was either called Seclusions Paradise or Seclusion in Paradise depending on which source you read.