David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights – Left By Soft album review

David Kilgour has a wonderful knack for instrumentation. From his work with The Clean to his solo work, David has been making a living with simple chord progressions and easy melodies. While he isn’t as big on this side of the planet, in his home country of New Zealand, David is synonymous with indie-rock. The moment I tossed on his newest album Left By Soft it was easy to see why.

The first thing you notice when listening to the title track is how well everything is put together. Guitars jangle over a smooth drum beat with seamless effort, and the song progression is so natural you’d really wonder if they just jammed the album out in a day. With his backing band “The Heavy Eights”, David has managed to create simple yet beautiful soundscapes with very typical instruments. There’s no crazy fuzz pedals or distortion, no wild and weird instruments, just a classic sound worked to great effect.

What’s really shocking with a style like this is the depth and variety of the album. Instead of being constricted by the method they’ve chosen, David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights explore it to it’s fullest. Tracks like “Pop Song” and “Theme” showcase a slow burning soft side to the band whereas “Left By Soft” and “A Break In The Weather” bring things up tempo to a casual pace. Far and away my favourite song on the album had to be “Way Down Here”. Coming right off the excellent mood-setter that is the title track, “Way Down Here” keeps a similar pace until about a minute in when it flips you on your head. Grinding guitar, a shouted and impassioned chorus and raucous verses had me sold. I’m a sucker for some no-holds-barred rock.

While not quite an instrumental album (in fact, almost all of the songs have lyrics) Left By Soft feels like that’s what it really should be. The vocals are more miss than hit and often feel like they’ve just been placed overtop of arrangements. It’s especially unfortunate when you consider how well everything else is incorporated.

That being said, it’s still a minor complaint in an otherwise excellent album. David’s sound is one that stands out and is worth a listen. You can check out some of his older stuff here including some free downloads.

By Ryan O

I love music, movies and putting the two together.

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