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End Times Undone

Out 1st September via Merge

The latest album from David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights was recorded in his native New Zealand between 2012 and 2014. That span covering three years suggests this might be one of those albums that was slaved over, with weeks-upon-months spent recording and then mixing until every minor detail was perfected.  The opposite is true.  End Times Undone took so long to finish because Kilgour assembled his bandmates every four or five months, and then only for a couple days at a time. 
 
“We’ve become so obsessed with capturing the creative moment as early as possible when we get together,” Kilgour says of making music with guitarist Tony de Raad, bassist Tom Bell, and drummer Taane Tokona.
 
It’s the perfect way for Kilgour to operate these days, more than 30 years into a career that is equally compelling, consistent, and influential.  From his first recordings with The Clean, the iconic band who remain active and whose legend deservedly grows mightier every year, Kilgour has had a distinct sound that has inhabited all of his albums and sounds fresh with every new release.
 
If it sounds a little fresher on End Times Undone – Kilgour’s eighth solo album and second straight with this Heavy Eights line-up – that’s because of the method.  Not many bands can make musical discovery sound so leisurely and urgent, so crisp and casual.  But that’s what transpires over these ten tracks. Building on the chemistry showcased on 2011’s Left By Soft, Kilgour and the Heavy Eights were able to quickly coalesce around this batch of songs.
 
Over just ten songs, End Times Undone offers a robust sampling of all the various styles Kilgour has mastered over the last three decades.  For an album that comes so late in one’s career, it’s a surprisingly convenient entry point into Kilgour’s body of work.  After a psychedelic intro, opener “Like Rain” immediately identifies itself as vintage Kilgour, with shimmering guitars that gracefully swell and secede.  “Lose Myself in Sound” will appeal to fans of The Clean who favour songs where the band chugs along on a blissful straight-line path.  While the album has its share of abstract lyrics, this title is one to take seriously.  And like many songs here, it draws to a close with an extended instrumental passage, the sound of four people finding their own rhythm together.
 
End Times Undone will be released shortly after a reissue of The Clean’s Anthology, a 46-track set that serves as the band’s defining document that can attest to their pantheon status.  End Times Undone is a perfect companion piece to that collection that left off in 1996, and in many ways feels like it could have simply been the next album helmed by Kilgour instead of one that comes nearly 20 years later.