Hamish Kilgour needs no introduction to local music audiences. As a member of The Clean, he is considered part of the fabric of New Zealand’s alternative rock scene.
Regardless of his role in numerous bands, he has surprisingly only before put his name on one solo album, 2014’s ‘All Of It And Nothing.’ This new album, ‘Finklestein’ makes it two.
The title and numerous songs here are based on a children’s story Kilgour created for his young son, about a kingdom and how they cope when their gold resources are diminishing.
The music is loosely woven around the story and themes. Inevitably there are echoes of The Clean, notable early in the lo-fi rhythms of Welcome To Finklestein and the dreamy acoustic vibes of the lovely Strange Angel.
Less predictable the hint of singer/songwriter Americana on Sidetracked, with slide guitar and laid-back lilting vocals from Kilgour – though the track is pulled back from being full-on country by the addition of a saxophone solo. Indeed, the interaction between instruments and voice is one of the best things about ‘Finklestein’ as Kilgour fits his story-telling vocals to the different instruments being used on each track.
The album is a collaborative work with producer Gary Olsen and was recorded at Olsen’s studio in Brooklyn, New York, where Kilgour lives and is part of the music scene. The slightly ramshackle, occasionally random feel of the sound only adds to the album’s charm and makes it a beguiling repeated listen, one not only for the kids.