Hamish Kilgour

Finklestein

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AllMusic Review by

As a solo artist, Hamish Kilgour was the opposite of prolific for many years. He worked a bunch with the legendary Flying Nun band the Clean starting in the '80s, recorded with the Mad Scene, and did things here and there after that, but until 2014's All of It and Nothing, the venerable drummer had yet to release an album under his own name. The lo-fi strum pop delights of his debut were winning enough to make another album desirable, and Kilgour obliged in 2018 with Finklestein. Based around a story that Kilgour would tell his son about an imaginary king and his kingdom, the album was made over a year's time with his musical cohort Gary Olson of Ladybug Transistor. Given the time taken and the freedom of having your partner own a studio, the album has an unrushed charm as it unspools slowly and mysteriously. Kilgour isn't telling a story as much as creating a mood with the songs, and to that end the arrangements are spacious and filled with a wide array of instruments and sounds like saxophone, pedal steel, vibraphone, and footsteps. Tracks like "Strange Angel" and the loping "Hayride" have a meandering, introspective feel; the instrumentals are quiet and drifting; there is plenty of reverb-soaked gunk stuck to the minor-key psych-folk melodies on rambling tunes like "Flip Top Suitcase"; and songs like "Whistle Stop" and "Gold" sound like Clean tracks dunked in paisley and left out in the sun to warp. It's an unassuming record, but after spending a little time letting the music sink in, it reveals some depth and resonance. Kilgour has found a perfect collaborator in Olson, and the duo have crafted a lovely follow-up to All of It and Nothing.

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