[sic] Magazine

Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy – You Are Everything

It’s fairly safe to assume if you’re reading these words you didn’t come here by chance. A new Steve Kilbey LP is arguably a niche premise in itself, a re-release of last year’s collaboration with Martin Kennedy of grown-up instrumental-pop act All India Radio more so. Yet, the demand exists; Agitated wouldn’t be investing their time and money in the pressing otherwise.

All the same, approaching it with trepidation is forgivable for the Kilbey-Kennedy axis has had quality control issues during its two-album existence to date (see the majority of 2011’s anonymous White Magic). In this regard, You Are Everything is no different. These old hands know a decent melody though and when they combine with Kilbey’s iconic half-sung/spoken vocal the results can be quite luxurious. As such, and embracing mild neo-psychedelia somewhere between Spiritualized and Mercury Rev, “Everyone” and “I Find” are refined examples of elder-statesman pop, the former benefitting from contribution by guest vocalist Leona Gray, Kennedy’s dreamy strings in the latter setting Kilbey up to knock the track out the park with his compliant croon.

If the pair have a tell it’s their attention to detail. You Are Everything is clearly the work of professionals, but in places it’s again just too safe, just too dull. For better or worse there’s variety here though. The solid “Can’t Get Free” is an eyes-half-mast indie-rocker that erupts with a big chorus and “Lorelei” is redolent of vintage, dignified shoegaze. “East Side West Side” however seems totally out of place, seemingly ready remixed by Kennedy’s electronic palette. It might suit him but Kilbey was never meant for the sounds of 80s Berlin and it shows during this failed experiment.

Let’s not dwell on the negatives though when there are positives as strong as “Brother Moon Sister Sun”, an acoustic-led exercise in melancholy strings and piano that transports you to a time when the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen, and let’s not beat around the bush The Church themselves, were the absolute go-to guys for sombre indie-rock. Niche or not, You Are Everything is worth the entrance for this legacy alone.

Best tracks: “Brother Moon Sister Run” and “I Find”

~You Are Everything gets its re-release on March 3rd 2014 via Agitated. Each LP includes a download card plus an exclusive 14-track remix CD.~