Project Description

KIM CHURCHILL

“Weight_Falls”

(Album Review) – 25/08/17

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Kim Churchill

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Create for yourself an image of an Aussie folk singer. A cloud of salt-frizzed sunbleached hair, the well-put-together scruffiness, a guitar hiding somewhere in the boot of a secondhand car to which the singer in question holds the keys.

That’s Kim Churchill. Only difference is, Kim Churchill is much, much more than an image of Australian folk. Listen through his shimmering fifth album Weight_Falls, and you’ll see what I mean. Everything from Churchill’s voice to the instrumentation to the production is humble, genuine, and effortless.

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Kim Churchill

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Weight_Falls has a remarkable ability to ease its way into a musical conscience without being noticed. The 48-minute album contains so many excellent moments of musical balance between virtuosity and simplicity, never taking itself too seriously, that all of a sudden you’ll be singing the tag to Secondhand Car without even knowing it. The musicianship that spills out of bright clicky guitar licks is Churchill’s in spades, but his demeanour is soft-spoken and simple. Weight_Falls is Churchill at his finest and most mature.

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Whole Entire eases Weight_Falls in, a mix of gentle percussion, swift yet unhurried guitar, and whalesong-eqsue vocal soundscapes. It’s got a pace, but it’s still an effortless float that has its moments of hitting the ground running, before sweeping the listener up again. Churchill pulls every last drop of goodness out of his guitar in The Border, a beautifully constructed invitation of fingerpicking, percussion, and harmonics. Heart Of You’s more melancholy strains drift in a more urbanised handclap and organic percussion space, and it’s about the most industrial Churchill sounds on Weight_Falls.

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Kim Churchill

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Despite the connotations that accompany the humble beach-folk scene, Kim Churchill’s sound does not come without mainstream appeal. The next two tracks, Breakneck Speed and Secondhand Car, hold real potential for frequent airplay. Breakneck Speed’s brass-accompanied uptempo groove invites a singalong, and Secondhand Car carries the same vibe that made The Rubens’ Hoops a Hottest 100 chart-topper in 2015, and who knows, maybe it has a similar fate.

The album’s namesake, Weight Falls, is driven by fingerclicks and guitar arpeggios but held together by Churchill’s unrelenting harmony. It’s a beautifully produced track, but it sounds as if it would thrive live. GOLDEN lifts the pace back up near to Breakneck Speed’s level, introducing more electric sounds without stripping the grassroots feel that Churchill has made his own throughout Weight_Falls. Dynamic swells make for an adventure out of this music, and Churchill’s instrumental moments speak as loud as any lyric.

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Speaking of lyric prowess, Weight_Falls finds its most lyric-driven moment in Rosemary. Based on a wardmate of Churchill’s now-deceased grandmother, the lyrics pour so much love into a wistful glance at death. Following on in the same emotional vein, Rippled Water places sorrowful lyric in a field of electric guitar harmonies. It’s delightfully unsettling, only a tiny snippet coming in at just over two minutes, but the frustration of self at this track makes it as expansive as anything else on Weight_Falls.

Churchill has placed his tracks well within Weight_Falls. Following the simmering frustration of Rippled Water with the screaming desire of CYGO builds the energy of the album back up through the last few tracks. CYGO’s cut between reverb-y fingerpicking and bold clean chords amidst a soundscape of strings and tribal percussion is both tumultuous and easily listenable.

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The bluesy vibe of What I’m Missing brings a repeated chorus tag into memorability. While maybe not single material, it’s catchy and classic with a lyrical depth that lends itself longevity beyond simply easy listening. Goes Away follows up with a largely instrumental break. Churchill syncs percussion with his guitar licks for a deceptively rhythmically complex track. It’s almost more inviting to sing along to the guitar line than the nihilistic lyric, which again exposes hidden depth upon repeated listening. The final track, Night_Gloom, is (for the most part) exactly what it purports to be— the album’s twilight musing, a piano accompanied, spacious and sparse four-and-a-bit minutes with some unexpected moments of intensity. When Churchill’s voice soars in confident harmony over an uneasy suspension, it’s a satisfying moment, especially when he dips into the syncopated-percussive-riffy trifecta in the chorus. While still a melancholy affair, Night_Gloom’s certain resolution sates the folk-seeking soul… however, the replay button is never too offensive an option…

Having never listened to much folk before picking up Weight_Falls (let alone Churchill’s other music), I feel the album invites an appreciation for the laid-back vibe, the humble expertise, and the hidden depth of the genre. For folk fans, however, Weight_Falls is an absolute must-listen. Kim Churchill has outdone himself.

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Kim Churchill

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Weight_Falls is out now digitally, on CD, and on vinyl. Kim Churchill is touring the album across Australia throughout September and October, including some busking gigs in capital cities and beyond. Who knows— maybe Kim Churchill’s Secondhand Car will end up parked next to yours!

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