All hail the Brothers Kilgour! David and Hamish (along with Robert Scott) are still best known as the founders of The Clean, the unfathomably great New Zealand band that started way back in the late ’70s and continues to this day. The Clean are playing a few select stateside dates this summer, but the band doesn’t seem to have any new material on the horizon. That’s alright, though, because both David and Hamish have excellent solo albums for us to enjoy.
David’s new one with his longtime band, The Heavy 8’s, is guitar heaven, all chiming electric 12-strings, tuneful feedback and jangling grooves. Possessor of a pretty much perfect tone, Kilgour is a guitar hero who actually doesn’t go in for heroics all that much. He’s more interested in riding the wave of the music, effortlessly tossing out shimmering lines with a casual grace, always finding pleasantly unexpected places to take his solos. From the utterly gorgeous, gentle tide of “Light Headed” to the Crazy Horse-goes-Kiwipop of “Dropper,” The Heavy 8’s provide their leader with a sensitive, shifting backdrop on End Times Undone. Check out the pure bliss of “Comin’ On,” a song that cruises along with no particular place go. “I don’t know where it’s coming from,” Kilgour sings. Getting lost rarely sounds this good.
Hamish Kilgour’s latest effort, All Of It And Nothing, is the first album to bear his own name, though he’s been busy for quite some time with The Mad Scene. It’s an intimate, spare affair, with Kilgour (who handles drum and vocal duties for The Clean) singing and strumming reverb-laden acoustic guitar over skeletal percussion and subtle, ambient washes of psychedelic sound. There’s a touch of acid-fried folk a la solo Syd Barrett, but the album has a meditative, almost soothing, quality, with plenty of plaintive melodies that will work their way into your subconscious. The wonderful “Crazy Radiance” is the type of tune that on first listen seems like it was spontaneously conjured up on the spot, but its sturdy construction keeps you coming back, as new layers appear in the mix. words / t wilcox