A Feather In The Engine: Vinyl LP
David Kilgour

A Feather In The Engine: Vinyl LP

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Label: Merge Records
Release Date: 9th September

Kilgour's 'DIY' record, it's his 'bedroom pop' album, homemade and largely on his own, it brings forth his beautifully picked and rounded acoustic playing and otherworldly gift for making perfect guitar pop.

On 9 August, 2024, Merge Records reissues David Kilgour’s A Feather in the Engine, remastered and pressed on vinyl for the very first time. Originally released in 2002, A Feather in the Engine followed two full-band efforts 1997’s David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights and The Clean’s 2001 album Getaway and is thus almost startling in its intimacy.

Recorded at home and mostly alone (The Verlaines’ Graeme Downes provides lush string arrangements), Kilgour once called A Feather in the Engine “the most solo LP I’ve made.” Interpolating his genius for guitar pop through acoustic guitars and gorgeous instrumentals, its melodies unfold gently, suggesting that the 13 songs here, written over the course of four years, were searching Kilgour as much as he was searching them.

The dichotomy between A Feather in the Engine’s pop songs and instrumentals fascinates the ear, drawing the listener closer and closer to Kilgour’s virtuosic guitar playing when his lyrics aren’t imparting his breezy charm. The depth of style he achieves the psych pop of “Today Is Gonna Be Mine,” the Velvet Underground-esque churn of “All the Rest,” the chamber folk of “The Perfect Watch” is daunting; listening to it now, every song feels capable of generating a dozen playlists, or like the spawning point of a new microgenre.

Perhaps anomalous upon release, it’s A Feather in the Engine’s instrumentals that feel weightiest in this regard now. “Sept. 98” and “Backwards Forwards,” respectively the opening and closing tracks of the album, are elegant, pastoral epics that call out into the yawning expanse, presaging the simmering ambient country of William Tyler and SUSS, while “Instra 2” pushes out the boundaries of Eastern-influenced psychedelia.

Lovingly remastered (and in some cases remixed) from the original tapes by Tom Bell at Port Chalmers Recording Services, the vinyl reissue of A Feather in the Engine is a crucial opportunity to rediscover one of David Kilgour’s best records, a handcrafted gem that perfects guitar pop’s past while pointing to its future, idiosyncratic in its making and tantalizing in its potential. There is good reason for David Kilgour to be your favourite musician’s favourite musician. A Feather in the Engine is good reason for him to become yours.

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