Album Review: Steve Kilbey and Martin Kennedy make chilled-out bliss with “You Are Everything”
When I interviewed Steve Kilbey earlier this year he was quite candid about the recent shakiness with his long-running band The Church, and had this to say about his new album “You Are Everything” with Martin Kennedy:
“Don’t wait for the next Untitled #23 (the last Church album), as far as I’m concerned, here it is with the new Kilbey Kennedy. If you liked that tradition of what that album is about, here’s more of it. It’s not The Church, but this is what I’d be doing with them if we were still making records.” Click here to read the interview in full.
And while it’s certainly not a Church album, it holds great appeal for fans of the band and Kilbey’s solo work.
This is the third collaboration between Kilbey and Kennedy (from the ambient group All India Radio) and has been described by themselves as “the grand conclusion to their sonic trilogy.” And that’s certainly fitting. Kennedy’s song-craft melds perfectly with Kilbey’s soothing croon and stream of consciousness lyrics.
The album kicks off with “I Wouldn’t Know”, which bears a slight melodic resemblance to “North, South, East & West” from the Church’s landmark “Starfish” album. Kennedy’s lilting guitars and swirling synths make a sound both astral and bucolic, conjuring images of the cosmos or a long drive up the countryside.
“Lorelei” is epic space-rock, buoyed by airy synths and cooing female backing vocals, with Kilbey at his most mystical and lovelorn.
“Knowing You Are In The World” is a lovely ballad, with Sigur Ros-eque ascending strings. Kilbey is at his most nostalgic and longing, singing; “Somewhere, maybe on another plane, but I know that seems in vain to you, knowing you are in this world/Oh baby, now you’re looking very fine, I just want to give what’s mine to me, so it all goes through.”
The bossa nova beat and tremolo guitar of “I Find” brings to mind the works of Anton Carlos Jobim, even name-checking the region which birthed the sound; “In Brazil”. The tropical vacation flair extends to Kilbey’s lyrics “My hotel is full now, voices surround me, the choices are endless, baby why do you hound me.”
“East Side/West Side’s” minimal glitchy synth-pop is a refreshing chill, smooth as a frozen drink on a summer’s day. Kilbey’s lyrics are loose and ephemeral; “And when all of this over and when all of this is done, I just want to have some fun.”
Songs like “A Better Day” and “Brother Moon Sister Sun” have a warm jangle that also references the Church without feeling slavish. That is what makes the album distinctly different. There’s a lack of the intertwining guitars that hallmark that band’s unique sound.
“You Are Everything” revels in more open space and shadow, with Kennedy’s compositions conjuring cinematic vistas. It’s a rich sonic stew that is as invigorating and soothing as a deep tissue massage.
“Can’t Get Free” is a perfect example; a plaintive guitar, gentle piano stabs and Kilbey’s croon all integrate seamlessly, eventually lurching into a pulsating dance beat. His lyrics espouse the ebb and flow of relationships; “and you putting up with me, give me security, and you putting in with me, living in sin with me, you’ve never been with me.”
The album ends appropriately with “Finale”, a languid, meditative number with light jazz percussion and an ornate prog-rock atmosphere.
2013 is a busy year for Mr. Kilbey. Between his esoteric solo album “The Idyllist” (click here to read my review) and “You Are Everything” he’s lost no step in his prolific nature.
And Martin Kennedy’s soothing soundscapes fit his style like a glove. He’s the perfect creative foil for Kilbey, offering him sonic material that is at once familiar, yet texturally diverse, creating new tangents of sound for both artists to explore.
You can pre-order “You Are Everything” via iTunes below or Click here to order the 2 disc deluxe edition of “You Are Everything” from Steve Kilbey’s website thetimebeing.com