Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Sidetracked: A Brief Review Of The New Album From Hamish Kilgour (The Clean, The Mad Scene)

On Friday, Hamish Kilgour of The Clean is set to release his second solo record. Called Finklestein, and out on Ba Da Bing Records, the album from the founding member of those New Zealand legends is a set of ruminative and quietly-adventurous indie-rock numbers. "Opening (Welcome to Finklestein)" chugs along with noisy passages and a rough, unfinished sense of performance, while "Strange Angels" is lovely neo-folk, echoes of Nick Drake and Kevin Ayers popping up amidst the familiar sound of this New Zealand musical pioneer. Elsewhere, "Hayride" churns with quiet precision, while "Sidetracked" feels familiar, twang-y guitar figures mingling up against a melody that is vaguely reminiscent of something from Neil Young. The long "Whistle Stop" stands as a highlight here on Finklestein, even as the song threatens to float away in spots, the instruments circling in and out over a faint drum-beat. Kilgour has gone for mood here on this track, and others on this second solo album, and one must commend him for taking some risks and pushing his sound in new directions, not just ones that followed a trail back to the best Clean records. While "Gold" nods in the direction of early recordings from the Kilgour brothers, it also echoes Obscured by Clouds-era Floyd, even as the odd "Brasilia 666" offers up a kind of tropicalia that owes as much to Os Mutantes as it does, say, to the more expansive numbers on classic Clean long-players.

Finklestein stands as a pretty strong testament to the talents of Hamish Kilgour. Bravely iconoclastic, Kilgour takes a lot of chances here, even as he offers up some rather lovely numbers, and some bits of understated psychedelia. Long-time listeners of The Clean will find lots to love here, even as casual fans of the band will be able to easily embrace what's here on this second solo album from Hamish Kilgour.

Finklestein is out on Friday via Ba Da Bing Records.