David Kilgour

Here Come the Cars

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AllMusic Review by

Kilgour's solo debut is a beauty, managing the neat trick -- like so many of Flying Nun's acts at their best -- of combining ready listenability with a dark but sweet edge. Backed by Noel Ward on bass and Tane Tokona on drums, Kilgour handles everything else to create a gently captivating album that stands on its own merits rather than simply being a Clean spin-off. The opening title track sets the tone, slow, deliberate and just moody enough, samples of traffic (at one point a car alarm suddenly surfaces in the mix) calling up an air of wistful mystery. Kilgour's singing throughout the album is warm but a touch buried; a conscious touch that balances heartfelt connection with a careful restraint. The emphasis gets placed a touch more on the music as a result, his guitar work more often taking the fore; indeed, the lyrics usually seem to serve the song rather than vice versa. The stuttering then soaring guitar crunch on the motorik-touched roil of "Spasm," helping revive Krautrock well before it was cool to do so, is a gripping example of this approach done right and then some. Where voice and music are on an equal footing, as with the wonderful "Shivering," moving with a steady punch and some great soloing from Kilgour, the feeling is still one of layers, calm echo, and energy carefully kept from explosion. A reasonable but not exact comparison point throughout would be Galaxie 500; if the production isn't quite as gauzy as Kramer's for that group, it's often close enough, lending even the mostly acoustic numbers like "Spins You Round" or the Byrdsy twang of "Blueprint" an even warmer feeling.

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