[LP Review] David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights – Left By Soft

Yes yes yes we all know about The Clean, but David Kilgour’s solo records can often get lost in the noise. Four years since ‘Far Now’, he’s back with the Heavy Eights and this sounds exactly as the press release presents it: four guys in a room in the Catlins, NZ, recording great jangle-pop songs with minimal overdubs. The drums and bass are mic’d close, strummed chords hover in the background, Kilgour does his guy-next-door thing with the vocals, and a Rickenbacker jangles over the top of everything. The single ‘Diamond Mine’ sounds so spontaneous and simple, you wonder how so many bands get this sort of thing wrong (and with two minutes of explosive fuzzed out guitar in the middle, it’s probably the highlight of the album). But David Kilgour – who’s been the quiet guy in the room for 30 years now – seems to have the enviable knack of knowing when a song is done.  As a result, nothing on this album is overcooked and it’s all over in 37 unhurried minutes. Personal favourites here are the gorgeous ‘Theme’ which would fit quite nicely on Badalamenti’s soundtrack to ‘The Straight Story’; and the psychedelically tinged ‘Break In The Weather’.  One new addition this time around is guitar solos, a lot of guitar solos…..but it’s a welcome development.  He’s never been a showy player, but I like this new aspect, and it separates the album from his other work. If there has to be a fault, it would be ‘Steel Arrow’, which comes a little close to the whimsy of the Travelling Wilburys for my liking, but that’s a minor issue. Bookended by two perfect instrumentals (‘Left by Soft’ and ‘Purple Balloon’), this is a wistful stroll of a record, and no doubt he’ll be back in another couple of years with another one. If you know him already, jump on this now; and if you’re new to Kilgour, this is a great place to start collecting. Conor Devlin

David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights – Purple Balloon

More Info: Official
Buy Songs: David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights
Year: 2011

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One Comment

  1. May 31, 2011
    Reply

    “Kilgour seems to have the enviable knack of knowing when a song is done”
    I believe Graeme Downes of The Verlaines once wrote a thesis on The Clean, one of the key points of which was their sense of “appropriate duration”.

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