End Times Undone
He’ll never make a bad record – it just can’t happen. It’s not in him. It’s within him to always knock it out of the park, that giant slug and then a nonchalant shrug. And so, yes, here we have End Times Undone, Kilgour’s latest with his band The Heavy 8s; the follow-up to 2011’s Left By Soft, his 10th album as solo artist/bandleader outside of The Clean.
You get Crazy Horse and R.E.M in the same song here (Crow), you get traces of Dean Wareham’s oeuvre (Christopher Columbus), you get that languid, lovely, loping guitar sound to set it off (Like Rain) and if the vocals are just that little bit further buried this time, quite deeply blurred into the burr of each song, well then, why not?
In an alternative/parallel universe David Kilgour is the greatest musician alive – guitar slinger, singer/songwriter, conjurer of strange and swirling mini-magic as he creates little pop-like slices of nearly-psychedelia, these songs little pieces of beach-found driftwood, him kicking his shoe through the stones, digging up another new way to make those same old chords shimmer and shine (Dropper).
Like Lou Reed and Wareham and only a very small handful of others – so much is being done here with what you might think is actually so little. That Kilgour can continue to dig into the bag and find something – arrange it so it seems just tossed of and scribbled out, the recording always reflecting the “eureka moment” of the correct take, is merely one facet of his sound that you can spend your life trying to learn but no one could ever teach.
Trying to reach this sound might drive anyone else crazy – being able to summon it for each and every album means he deserves the breathless accolades from the fawning, us mouth-breathers.
But there’s something so wonderfully compact about End Times Undone, those little traces of cosmic Kiwi country (Comin’ On), demo-like drops of half-ideas left to shine as perfect (I Don’t Want To Live Alone) and the idea that the music is just always, forever happening, he just – sometimes – happens to capture it (Down The Tubes) and that here, in 36 minutes, he’s almost put the entire careers of other bands to shame. The only reason that isn’t quite true is because that idea of competition sits so far away from his ethos.
Most importantly, that would be shrugged off, almost embarrassedly; Some Things You Don’t Get Back. That’s how this album ends. In that alternative/parallel universe the slacker-king has just written another (new) anthem. It closes off ten perfect song-capsules, these little messages in brown-ale bottles being flung to wherever from the arse-end of the world. Meaning more than anyone else could ever know – until they too stop to listen.