Although ostensibly based on a fairytale he conceived for his son, the second solo album from Hamish Kilgour is not really one for the bubbas – there’s not a lot in the way of soothing lullabies to ease little ones into sleep.
However, Finklestein does include some of the loveliest tunes the New York-based Kilgour has ever written and while his aesthetic vision remains agreeably DIY, he and his Brooklyn collaborator Gary Olsen (Ladybug Transistor) have also fleshed out his often skeletal acoustic shuffles with horns, slide guitar and multi-layered keyboards. The DNA of his previous bands can still be found sprinkled throughout the album – tracks like the chunky instrumental ‘Welcome To Finklestein’ and the gentle psychedelics of ‘Hayride’ wouldn’t sound out of place on a latter-day Clean album – but there is still room for some intriguing diversions: the sax led ‘Brasilia 666’ offers a glimpse of what garage lounge band might sound like, while the pedal steel guitar-infused atmospherics recall early Calexico.
Kilgour also hands over the mic over to guest vocalists on a couple of tracks and they prove to be Finklestein’s standout numbers: Alessandra Maria Iavarone (from indie band Tomorrow’s Friend) adds a Nico-ish touch to the soaring epic ‘Under The Moon’, while ‘Sidetracked’ – sung by one Jared Eggers – is a glorious slice of cosmic country that also encapsulates the album’s theme about holding on to the innocence of childhood: “I know you’ve been told / That when you grow old / Dreams begin to decay / What an odious thing to say”. As fairytales go, Finklestein might seem a little careworn on the surface, but a sense of wonder still shines through.
Ba Da Bing