NEW Zealand artist Kurt Shanks recently promoted his upcoming solo debut album in London and what a promising project it is.

Shanks is effectively unknown in the UK - save for diehard Kiwis who remember his part in stellar*, one of the country's top bands of the early 2000s - but still played an intimate little gig at the Off Broadway Bar in Hackney to trial his new material.

Conflict of interest admission here in that I knew him at college, but his album, Blood Line Heart, is an album of solid riffs and excellent lyrics that should have a wide appeal.

Anyone who thought he was just the bassist in stellar* contributing a few chords in sync with the drummer will be pleasantly surprised by the variety and depth on the album.

At the Off Broadway he opened with the most radio friendly pop offering, Shake Shake Shake.

Other highlights from the set included two singles off his EP, Seven Flights Up, the ballad We Shall Have Another Day and the punky Shoot To Kill, mixed in with the slower 15 Years.

He was well backed up by guitarist Andrew Thorne.

A sneak preview of the album, which is released on Friday, shows other treasures in Lost Without You, These Are The Days, The Real You and Future To My History.

The tunes themselves are all hung on good riffs and hooks to draw you in to listening to some real depth lyrically.

Trying to break out internationally as a musician from New Zealand has traditionally been hard because of the geographical obstacle, but hopefully in this digital age, Blood Line Heart will spread out to the audience it deserves.

  • Watch Shake Shake Shake

  • Watch We Shall Have Another Day

  • Watch Shoot To Kill


Further information is available at Blood Line Heart is available from iTunes