David Kilgour

The Far Now (Merge)

Anyone hoping that singer David Kilgour's latest disc, The Far Now, would be a return to the streamlined, guitar-driven rush of his former New Zealand punk outfit the Clean will quickly be disappointed. Instead for this, his sixth album, he's offering down-to-earth, contemplative jangle-rock with melodies and moods strong enough to plant themselves inside your head immediately. Now has the dreamy ambiance of Sixties folk and psychedelic rock without coming off as retro or cheesy. The album's meditative opener, "Sun of God," recalls George Harrison's contributions to the Beatles' Revolver with its minor-key instrumentation; the bouncy tune "BBC World" is reminiscent of the Monkees' early country/folk ditties. Kilgour does sing in a somewhat nasally understated voice — think pre-1974 John Lennon, or Elliott Smith — but his guitar work and songwriting remain solid throughout the album. The conclusion of "Wave of Love" has touches of intentionally added feedback that are both crafty and surreal. These compositions deserve to be taken seriously — most are packed with richly sonorous violin, viola, and cello at times, and there are no synthesized strings here filling up space. While it's not exactly first-disc-of-the-day material, Now is as invitingly cozy and heartening as your favorite comforter on a cool Sunday evening.

 
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