I’m not sure what about In Tua Nua’s "All I Wanted" telegraphed to me one very late night listening to the classic rock station in Honolulu back in the late ’80s.
I was getting into college rock at the time, and the college station in the area could only broadcast within a 3-mile radius of campus. I lived 10 miles away. The classic rock station would sometimes include a dribble of modern rock in its playlist — an occasional R.E.M. or Midnight Oil song thrown in among hours of Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones. I couldn’t stand it.
So it was probably that dribble of In Tua Nua, played in the wasteland of late night, that whetted my appetite. I heard the song maybe once, but it was enough to get me curious. I would eventually scrape enough lunch money to get The Long Acre from the record store, and it would be one of my favorite albums for a long time.
I thought an album so good could never be ignored by my favorite rock magazines. Boy was I wrong. If In Tua Nua ever got mentioned in the US press, it was in passing reference to the Waterboys or Sinéad O’Connor. I waited eagerly for another album that never came.
The Long Acre left such an indelible impression, I even went to Leslie Dowdall’s SXSW showcase back in 1999, where I encountered Nina Hynes.
Looking back, The Long Acre, while good, didn’t really rise to the level of other albums I would eventually discover that were made before and since. It’s no Karuki Zaamen Kurinohana, no Pieces of the Sky, no Entertainment!, no What’s Going On.
But it is on the level of Floating Into the Night, The Real Ramona or Mado ni Chikyuu — favorites all and personally life-changing. Just not seismic.
(Mouse over the album titles if you’re not entirely familiar with who made them.)