End Times Undone, the latest album from David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights, was recorded in his native New Zealand between 2012 and 2014, but that’s a bit misleading. The album took so long to finish only because Kilgour assembled his bandmates every four or five months, and then only for a couple days at a time. And when they convened, the tape was rolling almost from the start. It’s the perfect way for Kilgour to operate these days, more than 30 years into a career that is equally compelling, consistent, and influential. From his first recordings with The Clean, the iconic band who remain active and whose legend deservedly grows mightier every year, Kilgour has had a distinct sound that has inhabited all of his albums and sounds fresh with every new release.
Over just ten songs, End Times Undone offers a robust sampling of all the various styles Kilgour has mastered over the last three decades. For an album that comes so late in one’s career, it’s a surprisingly convenient entry point into Kilgour’s body of work. After a psychedelic intro, opener “Like Rain” immediately identifies itself as vintage Kilgour, with shimmering guitars that gracefully swell and secede. “Lose Myself in Sound” will appeal to fans of The Clean who favor songs where the band chugs along on a blissful straightline path. While the album has its share of abstract lyrics, this title is one to take seriously. And like many songs here, it draws to a close with an extended instrumental passage, the sound of four people finding their own rhythm together. “Dropper” is a psychedelic romp with some serious bite in its guitar. “Some Things You Don’t Get Back” is a hypnotic strummer that builds a head of steam without overheating. “Christopher Columbus” balances some country-ish licks with sparkling little guitar runs.
And to talk about a Kilgour album without talking about the guitar playing would be irresponsible. He has always been an understated guitar hero, playing with an efficient elegance, equally adept at heady drones or twinkling solos. The interplay with de Raad accounts for highlights on every track. End Times Undone will be released shortly after a reissue of The Clean’s Anthology, a 46-track set that serves as the band’s defining document that can attest to their pantheon status. End Times Undone is a perfect companion piece to that collection that left off in 1996, and in many ways feels like it could have simply been the next album helmed by Kilgour instead of one that comes nearly 20 years later. That’s what happens when you have an artist so comfortable with his sound and approach that you just turn on the amps and start playing.
LP pressed on randomly coloured vinyl. Includes a download code.
Tracklist: Like Rain / Lose Myself In Sound / Light Headed / Christopher Columbus / Crow, Dropper / Comin’ On / I Don’t Want To Live Alone / Down The Tubes / Some Things You Don’t Get Back
Merge Records MRG519