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Auckland's Garageland made a big splash with their debut record Come Back Special on Flying Nun in August 1995. The BFM favourites came out with five fresh pop songs that suggested a new wave of musicians were clutching the classic Flying Nun catalogue for inspiration and taking off to the garage to jam. With their guitars turned up to warm reverb and tossing off words not just with the lazy abandon so favoured by the modern American underground but in the way that great NZ bands have always mumbled their way through a catchy tune, Garageland are mining a rich musical vein.

In order of appearance, these songs also suggest that: (1) the line "come back, all is forgiven" is something worth shouting at the rooftops if you truly believe a former loved- one doesn't know what they're missing, (2) Billy Joel is an arsehole, (3) you can't go wrong if you try and write thundering riffs like the Clean, (4) ditto on the riff -- but add some guitar squall for tasty spicing, and (5) Sonic Youth should maybe lay off the weed and try a pop cigar if they really want to stay young.

Garageland started out two years ago playing on the fringes of the Auckland scene and posting tapes of their songs to student radio stations around NZ. They watched incredulously as these songs strode up the radio charts and bands came up to them and said "Support us". Next thing they're writing letters to Flying Nun with "Garageland - undoubtedly the world's greatest guitar band" typed along the top. The label's staff, already tuned into the music, found the thought of making another band look like fools as they attempt to live up to their self-created hype too good to ignore and Garageland were signed.

So Garageland rode the back of their great Come Back Special debut with a tour of NZ and a visit to Australia with King Loser and Loves Ugly Children, where they went down a hit but had their best guitar stolen by some unfriendly bastard in Sydney. Undaunted (although we're still fighting it out with the insurance company) Garageland went off and wrote a pile of new songs. Their next single, "Finger Pops" was out in February, and the album, Last Exit To Garageland, has just been released. Their debut single "Come Back" also appeared on the Australasian compilation Collision 3 in early '96.

Flying Nun has a knack of sending great guitar bands out into the world for people to wonder at. Garageland are lining up to take off and that next comeback might not just be special -- it could be huge.

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