Here we have the seventh release in Troy’s 10/10/10 project of ten albums in ten different genres in ten years. This time credited to Tory Kingi & The Room Service, each album has a different credited band (although often the same musicians, this time it includes Treye Liu, Marika Hodgson, Guy Harrison, Greg Haver, Forrest Thorpe and Thabani Gapara) and has again been produced by his long-term collaborator and partner TeMatera Smith. So far in this project, Troy has worked through genres like Blues, Reggae, Psychedelic Soul, Funk, Folk and 80’s, but his fans have stayed with him all the way as we are all in this for the long haul as we all enjoy what he does so much that we follow wherever he leads. If someone asked me what was my favourite album I would have real issues trying to decide, as I discovered him during the recording of the psychedelic soul/funk classic ‘Shake Your Skinny Ass All The Way to the Zygertron’, feel his ‘Holy Colony Burning Acres’ is one of the most important and essential deep roots/reggae albums I have ever come across, while his folk ‘Black Sea Golden Ladder’ is nothing short of a masterpiece.

There is something about his style, the way his vocals allow him to blend in with whatever genre he is working on and bringing with him wonderful musicians (Marika is one of the most outstanding bassists working in New Zealand), which means he is always at home wherever he is. I have long been asking TeMatera to convince Troy to release a grunge album, and he kept telling me to wait for this one, but the result was not something I expected at all! What we have here is mostly instrumental, with Troy concentrating on his guitar, providing some vocals here and there but this cannot really be classed as a vocal release. There is a soul feel, with the guitar taking the lead, with the bass often providing a complementary melody and the percussion driving us along on the groove. In many ways this is typical Troy, yet it is also very different as he is relying on his musicianship to tell the story this time as opposed to his voice. It is bright and light, and there is plenty of space within for one to relax into and sit back and enjoy. It is very Seventies in places, looking back to the Sixties in others, always sat in the mainstream but never falling into the trap of being too commercial.

Released in November of last year, this is the third of his albums to get to #1 in the NZ Artists’ charts (his last two “only” made it to #2), yet outside Aotearoa most people will just know him as an actor, and his role in films like ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ (where he played the role of TK). If that is the case with you, the reader of this review, then you really need to seek out one of our greatest treasures.

Rating: 8/10