The Close Readers is the band/project-name for the songs of Damien Wilkins. He returned to music in 2009 after some time away from the hobby. Of course, in that time off he developed as a writer across a handful of novels, some short stories, poems and teaching creative writing.
The prettier the voice the harder it is to believe what’s being said – I believe every word of New Spirit, and, for the most part, it has me thinking of The Go-Betweens, Wilkins doing his version/s of both writers from that great band.
The tunes are gruntier and more thoughtful this time around, where Group Hug felt like demos of past demons – a release as much to set them free, New Spirit speaks of a, well, a new spirit in Wilkins the songwriter, in The Close Readers too, as something closer to resembling a band.
Check out the great video for the title track (great song too).
And if you buy from Bandcamp you can get the files, straight away obviously and/or for just a couple of dollars more you can also get a signed CD sent to your house (in NZ, anyway) within just a couple of days. That’s service.
I’ve been near-obsessively checking in on this CD most days for weeks now; it’s just part of the daily routine, it’s become its own ritual. The songs are that strong. There are lines that stick out – sometimes it’s a different line, depends on the day, on the time that it’s played, but there are never lines that stick out to the point of distraction.
A confidant, short, sharp album with hooks and great lyrics. And a swift follow-up too. Makes me look forward to album number three…next year then, is it?