Kim Churchill's new album, Weight_Falls, is an indie-folk gem
His decision to start from scratch has paid off.
Words by Rob Carroll.
There’s a lot to love about Australian-based indie artist, Kim Churchill, and his brand-new album Weight_Falls is certainly no exception to the sentiment.
After the release of standout singles Breakneck Speed and more recently Second Hand Car, the songsmith delivers the remainder of the record; eleven more stunning tracks of what is his most accomplished work to date.
From the outset, it’s clear that Churchill has found an extra gear on Weight_Falls. Full of unpredictable twists and turns, yet still retaining complete cohesiveness to deliver thought-provoking indie-pop. Spending 18 months working on the follow up to his previous outstanding full length Silence/Win, the enigmatic musician decided to destroy the record and start again.
Churchill describes the initial recording process - “I worked really hard on the follow-up record for a long time and it sounded good. But some very subtle layer of my consciousness was saying to me, ‘It’s not all that inspiring’”. And his intuition has certainly paid off.
Whole Entire gently opens the record, with Churchill’s endearing voice leading into a soaring and anthemic chorus. It sets the tone for the beautiful melodies of The Border; a piece full of lush harmonies and acoustics. By track three Churchill completely commands my attention. Displaying his song writing depth, the eclectic Heart of You recalls the early vibes of The Black Keys. It’s dark, intriguing and infectious, yet still very much his own.
Current radio favourite Second Hand Car combines deft guitar work, retro-inspired keys and dreamy vocals. It’s followed by the first single released earlier this year Breakneck Speed, teasing with a subtle intro, before bursting into its spirited verses and undeniably memorable choruses.
The tempo drops as the title track kicks in at the halfway mark, earnest and subdued; apt for its position on the record. The dynamic lifts again slightly with Golden, a steady ballad full of gorgeous vocal sweeps, intricately plucked guitar and jungle-eqsue percussion.
The heart strings are tugged at on the arrival of Rosemary, written about Churchill’s grandmother’s last days on earth. She experienced an unexpected, yet beautiful romance. Again, largely driven by striking finger-picked acoustic guitar and stripped-back instrumentation; creating the perfect bedding for the singer’s compelling melodies.
Rippled Water features a short gliding crescendo, with a minimalist approach musically. Its ‘less is more’ attempt pays off, as the strength of the track is clearly in the vocals; shining a light on Churchill’s impressive wide and vast range.
The intro of Can You Go On bursts out with the retro-infused howls of the recurring line "I need to go on", before suddenly dropping down into a more sombre verse. The track continues to dip and lift erratically, defying all logic to orthodox song structure, yet Kim always remains in control – harnessing dynamics with finesse.
Gospel-like chants lead the way in What I’m Missing. It’s intentionally repetitive, but from the opening notes, you appreciate the simplicity and what is achieved as a final result. It’s bold and an admirable inclusion.
As the album nears its end the mood appears to relax with the anthemic Goes Away. The first three-quarters remain moderately-paced, before Kim ups the tempo and kicks into full swing; providing the quintessential soundtrack for every summer party.
An air of melancholy surrounds me as the record closes out with Night Gloom. It’s only fitting after feeling such intense euphoria; as all good things must come to an end.
Weight_Falls is a meticulously crafted pop record, which continually pushes the envelope, constantly keeping the listener on the back foot. It’s without a doubt one of the most impressive indie releases of 2017.
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