[sic] Magazine

All India Radio – The Silent Surf

Martin Kennedy has been plying his trade as All India Radio for so long now, with such a consistent aesthetic, that it can be difficult to tell his constant stream of releases apart. So, what is there to recommend The Silent Surf , his latest collection of languid instrumentals? Simply put, The Silent Surf is probably Kennedy’s strongest set since 2006’s Echo Other .

If you’ve heard All India Radio before, you won’t be surprised by what’s on offer: measured, down-tempo background music, free-floating and mostly gorgeous. What is surprising is the little flourishes that crop up throughout to add interest amid the waft of synth and tremolo guitar. On opener ‘The Bomb’, The Church’s Steve Kilbey welcomes the listener with a deadpan announcement, as though the album is a deluxe vacation resort (which it can feel like in its most numbing moments). On album standout ‘Saucer’, the voice of NASA scientist Professor Don Gurnett , who famously recorded the sounds of space, adds some crackly atmosphere. Drummer Ben Sims is exceptional throughout, knowing just when to add skipping cymbal patterns or snare rolls to really lift a song to the next level.

One glance at the tracklist will demonstrate that Kennedy hasn’t got any better at naming his songs – when you churn out so much music, no wonder the well of inspiration begins to run dry – but his craft is as precise and well-balanced as ever. One part of me yearns to hear what these pristine tracks would sound like roughed up by some noise, with some more left turns. But it really is lovely stuff to zone out to…

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