Juice Magazine reviews Steve Kilbey "Acoustic and Intimate"

 Rating: 4

 21/09/2000

 Label:  Karmic Hit

It doesn't say so on the cover, but this is truly unplugged music, unplugged as it should be but seldom is, with nothing but a voice and an acoustic guitar to be heard. And as it happens, Steve Kilbey has more to gain than most musicians from this raw format. Kilbey has unquestionably written and recorded many great songs. But too often throughout his career in the Church and other bands and projects his talents have been obscured by the constraints of a band format, an over-reliance on guitars and production and an eccentric contrariness that has often prompted him to shoot himself in the foot.

Away from other musicians and the studio, and the pressure to deliver for a record label, Kilbey has managed to record his most open and honest album to date. Live before a small, intimate audience in Sydney's Bondi, the album is an overview of his career, including most of his best songs. Classic tracks like "Under The Milky Way" and "Almost With You" can be seen from new intriguing angles.

But better still, lesser known tracks like "Providence" and "My Little Problem" have gained new life in this format. In the Church, Kilbey's voice sometimes sounds a little stilted and lethargic, as if he'd rather be doing something else. But live and alone, his vocals have a new passion and vitality that brings virtually every song here to life. As an added bonus, he even includes a performance of the great track he penned for Stephen Cummings a few years ago, "September 13".

Even better, Kilbey erases his reputation as a recluse through his friendly comments to the audience on each song, revealing a sense of humour and modesty not always apparent in his long past. The singer even treats us to an explanation and performance of the first song he ever wrote.

As mentioned above, this is how unplugged albums should be: unpretentious, revealing and full of raw gems.

                David Messer

 

Thank you to Steve Meacham for sending this to Seance


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