‘Shoegaze’ is not a term that most musicians associated with the British early 90’s movement are particularly fond of. Much like ‘grunge’, it’s lazy and contrived. Since the horse has bolted though, ‘shoegaze’ is the best single descriptor I can come up with for You Are Everything, the new album from Steve Kilbey (The Church), and Martin Kennedy (All India Radio). If you can imagine The Underground Lovers and Slowdive making an album together, then you’re getting close to the epic atmospheric sweep that Kilbey & Kennedy have created on this record.
Opening track ‘I Wouldn’t Know’ announces the album’s intentions right from the start, with a lazy acoustic guitar coupled with tasteful string sounds and Kilbey’s instantly recognisable voice evoking visions of a Sunday drive with the top down. If you watch the video, however, you’ll see visions of a different kind:
The album’s standout is without a doubt the sweeping pulse of ‘Lorelei’, which mixes Slowdive’s atmospheric sensibilities with an epic grandeur that seems almost impossible to fit into the space of a four minute song. (Disclaimer – my girlfriend Red Devotchkin is in this video):
Another album highlight is the stunning ‘A Better Day’, which in places feels like it wants to nick the ascending riff from the verse of Eurogliders’ 1984 hit ‘Heaven (Must be There)’. It never quite goes there, but in a twisted way I almost wish it had. I know, I’m sick.
I could go through every song on this record individually and talk about the merits of each, but I’m not going to do that. I want to listen again without having to exhaust my vocabulary thinking up variations on ‘grand’, ‘atmospheric’ and ‘beautiful’, words that apply to every song. What I will say is that there’s not a bad track on the album. You Are Everything is moody, mature, and epic in scope. Martin Kennedy’s ethereal instrumentation is a perfect match for Kilbey’s vocals. You probably won’t hear it on the radio, but this record might be the best work Steve Kilbey has released since ‘Under The Milky Way’, and it’s certainly his finest artistic achievement.
Rating: 9 celestial bodies out of 10
By Clint Morrow