David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights: Bobbie's a girl (Merge/digital outlets)

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 David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights: Bobbie's a girl (Merge/digital outlets)

Earlier this year I had a very knowledgable young American student in a couple of my music classes. He knew the Velvet Underground and minimalists, a lot of the Band and Bob Dylan but also contemporary pop and r'n'b.

He was also familiar with Flying Nun acts, notably the Chills and the Clean.

When I set him on the path of a deeper exploration of the Clean he came back amazed, he never knew they did such long improvised instrumentals in addition to their VU-influenced, economic indie-rock.

He left for home before I could point him to the Clean songwriter/guitarist David Kilgour's solo career because, right from the seminal Here Come the Cars in '91 (was it that long ago?) that has been another story again.

Bobbie's a girl is the 10thalbum under either Kilgour's own name or with the Heavy Eights and while Elsewhere wasn't entirely enamored with some of them (like the Falling Debris album with Sam Hunt and Left By Soft) Kilgour is always worth tuning in for.

The albums come like postcards from an interesting acquaintance.

This album is no exception because it is mostly quiet and feels personal, and only four of the 10 songs have lyrics. Which means this comes on like an autumnal, instrumental mood piece where the relationship between the separate tracks is discreet and leisurely.

There's a real sense of Kilgour letting go of expectations (for himself and his listeners) and simply relaxing into the musical space offered in these pieces which are mostly co-credited to the band of bassist/keyboard player Thomas Bell, guitarist Tony de Raad and drummer Taane Tokona.

With Kilgour on guitar, keyboards, vibes and vocals – and pianist Matt Swanson his own Swan Loop which lopes gently over a distant fuzzy guitar – there is also a pastoral quality at work, a sense of poise and ease as on Coming In From Nowhere Now.

Certain pieces do leap out with more drama: Crawler with its finger-picking and the slightly unexpected vocal part of “ahh, ahh”; If You Were Here And I Was There which seems to say more than its few lyrics do; and especially the naggingly addictive six minute instrumental Ngapara at the end which shimmers with twang'n'reverb, delivers over a throbbing repetition and has an understated menace about it.

Imagine Link Wray in an outdoor bar on a late, heat-soaked Miami afternoon and considering his next move after finishing an Elmore Leonard novel.

Like “anything could happen” perhaps?

Bobbie's a girl is an invitation as much as an album, a gesture of sharing these quieter moments.

You can hear Bobbie's a girl at Spotify here.

David Kilgour And The Heavy Eights

Thursday 24th October - Sherwood, Queenstown 

Friday 25th October - The Cook, Dunedin 
Saturday 26th October - Blue Smoke, Christchurch 
Thursday 31st October - San Fran, Wellington 
Saturday 2nd November - Whammy Bar, Auckland 
Sunday 3rd November - Whammy Bar, Auckland

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