Glow and Fade
by Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy


Are you a fan of dream-like, Pink Floyd inspired music that transcends day to day life? If so, the fifth album from Steve Kilbey and Martin Kennedy is definitely for you. An immersive and ethereal listening experience that nevertheless has something of a darkside, 'Glow and Fade' is an enthralling listening experience.

With tracks that verge from the thoughtful to the intensely serious and a wonderful vocal appearance from Selena Cross on certain songs, this release rewards repeated listens and is a deeply engaging and quite highbrow musical venture.

Rating - 77/100

Favourite Track - The sixteen minute epic "The Game Never Changes"

The first sound you hear on Kilbey Kennedy's fifth proper studio album, 2017's empyrean Glow and Fade, is a hollow, amorphous sigh, a space wind filtered through what sounds like a digital phone with a woman's voice buried deep beneath. Soon, the dry white noise is joined by more organic sounds: the fluorescent sparkle of a moon-like synth and the curious, glowing inquiries of a small alien guitar cooing and laser-writing its way through the dark atmosphere. Emerging from this cosmogonic reverie, a realization: "I used to think that darkness was a metaphor, with you beside me as I breathe." It's a haunting way to start an album and one that completely envelopes you, drawing you deep into its cosmic womb. Collaborators since 2009, the Church lead singer/songwriter Steve Kilbey and All India Radio instrumentalist Martin Kennedy have a wondrously low-key, high-reward musical partnership. Together, they maximize everything you love about their individual projects. For Kilbey, it offers a chance to stretch out into further spectral areas than with the Church; for Kennedy, who is primarily known for his instrumental chillwave electronica, it means he has a charismatic singer who can lend further pathos and gravitas, not to mention pop lyricism, to his already evocative soundscapes. All of this is brought to bear on Glow and Fade, the duo's most potently realized work to date.

While technically not a concept album, Glow and Fade is imbued with enough celestial-cum-spiritual themes to earn the term. With its cover art, a painting by lauded Dune artist Bruce Pennington portraying a Saturnian planet ringed by floating skulls, and the duo's knack for crafting textured, electronic-tinged space rock, Glow and Fade brings to mind a bevy of musical and cinematic touchstones. The leadoff title track alone evokes both the '70s gatefold aesthetic of Pink Floyd and director Andrei Tarkovsky's obsessively eerie 1972 sci-fi masterpiece, Solaris. The rest of the album plays out similarly, with Kilbey singing in his trademark warm croon, playing a kind of philosopher astronaut awakened from a hypersleep-induced dream to the stark surreality of space and all of the universe's truths held like planets before him. Is he actually traveling through a distant solar system, or is he still asleep and dreaming? Is he alive, eking out his remaining days alone on a spacecraft with his memories, or is he already dead, his soul now space dust tossed to the solar winds? These are the thoughts that cross your mind when listening to Glow and Fade.

Musically, it's also a deftly arranged production that finds the two weaving in bubbly keyboard electronics and classical acoustic guitars alongside David Gilmour-esque electric guitar swells and drums that mutate from jazzy ride and snare patterns to driving, orgasmic Giorgio Moroder club beats. And while the overall vibe is half-lidded and psychedelic, cuts like the languid, delicately orchestral ballad "They Know" and the romantic, Saint Etienne-sounding duet between Kilbey and vocalist Selena Cross on "We Are Still Waiting" are indelible, tactile songs full of melody and poignant lyrics. Ultimately, Kilbey Kennedy grab both your heart and your imagination on Glow and Fade, turning you toward the event horizon and holding you in their pop gravitational pull.

Glow and Fade is album number 5 from Steve Kilbey and Martin Kennedy, celebrating a decade of collaboration. The 8 track musical trip released through Golden Robot Records is available now on CD and digital release, with the vinyl edition for collectors to follow in late July, exclusive to the SFR Store.

"The songs are about wide-eyed naivete and crushing cynicism, nature of time, time of nature, the struggle and the defeat, love in all its old disguises. It really is quite a journey." — Steve Kilbey

"Musically, it is the ultimate convergence of all my music projects and influences from my childhood love of Pink Floyd to the atmospheric landscapes of my All India Radio project and the dream rock of our Kilbey Kennedy output. It all comes together on Glow and Fade." — Martin Kennedy

The album features artwork by the legendary, Bruce Pennington, famous for his evocative artwork for Frank Herbert's Dune books in the 1960s. Together with the music, it brings back memories of classic concept albums of the past.

The latest masterpiece from Kilbey Kennedy includes the spacey, dream rock of the title track, Glow and Fade, which immediately transports the listener to another world with Kilbey's melancholic optimism reminding all of our earthly, human limitations. The Game Never Changes is a sixteen minute prog-rock inspired epic, going through some of Kilbey's darkest ever lyrics and ending with a soaring solo of Pink Floyd proportions. With echoes of David Bowie and Roger Waters then comes They Know, with its oblique lyrics inter-weaved with lush acoustic guitar, strings and trumpet.

The fourth track on the album, We Are Still Waiting, is the first single to be lifted from the album. It's driving synth-laden dream pop with everything that was good about the '80s and showcases Kilbey's lyrical mastery in a beautiful duet with Melbourne vocalist, Selena Cross. Cross also joins Kilbey for The Law of the Jungle, a real-life break-up being the catalyst for this heart achingly raw song. Levitate and The Story of Jonah continue the brilliance with slow beats, dark synth, and prog-rock overtones. Completing the magic is One Is All, a play on All Is One from Kilbey Kennedy's first album together, providing a fitting bookend to the ten years of collaboration and an uplifting conclusion to Glow and Fade.

Full Review

The Australian duo of Steve Kilbey and Martin Kennedy team up again for a fifth time to produce an evocative, chilled out session in eight dreamlike trippy tracks that will take you on the light fandango.

Each track is a translucent thing of beauty that soothes all your cares away with a sensually light fingered touch. It is an absolutely delightful cornucopia of psychedelic ice cream and sponge cake.

You will just float away on the bubbling electronica and truly sweet hushed whispered vocals of Kilbey as he cogitates over each syllabic lyric.

Even though there are only eight tracks, totalling around 48 minutes, 'Glow and Fade' feels like you have been out of it all in your own happy soft rock place of peace for hours.

Definitely a piece of pure classic prog-rock genius for the modern age.

Full Review

Rating: 8.5/10

Glow and Fade is a wonderful and dreamlike listening experience which shows the whole spectrum of the alt/rock genre. With strong basslines, definitive drum beats and soft vocals this album has everything that it needs. A downside to this chill and ambient side of things is that certain songs have the tendency to sound rather similar, however, if looking for a way to chill or just vary music tastes, this album is perfect.

Glow And Fade is the fifth album from Aussie legend Steve Kilbey of The Church and Martin Kennedy, leader of Down Under, downtempo electronicists All India Radio (AIR), and creator of music for everything from CSI: Miami to Emmerdale. After a decade of collaborating, the union clearly still matters to the pair. Kilbey has poured his heart out in these songs about life's struggles and the capriciousness and vicissitudes of (human) nature. As for Kennedy, this is the ultimate expression of his childhood love of Pink Floyd dovetailing with the atmospheric dream rock of AIR. They Know is lush acoustica, We Are Still Waiting is radiant mid-tempo rhythmic rock. The title track locates the common ground between ambient techno and shoegaze, with a somnolent drift that recalls The Beatles' Across The Universe and the Floyd's Us And Them. The Game Never Changes is a 16-minute neo-prog epic that unfolds with all the beauty of time-lapse photography and evokes the cosmic and fantastical, with meteorological shifts from stormy to spacey. The album closes with the slow-motion panorama of One Is All, a play on All Is One from KK's first album, bringing their association full circle.

Full Review


The duo specializes in a sound that draws upon all their disparate influences: dream pop atmosphere, gurgling electronic beats and vintage psychedelic textures, resulting in a fully transportive mix, further elevated by Kilbey's captivating lyrics and impassioned vocals.

Even at just 8 tracks, Glow and Fade has the epic scope of a classic rock double-album. It's a further expansion and revelation of the rewarding partnership between two musicians who compliment each other in wonderful and unexpected ways.

Glow and Fade will certainly burn bright, but don't expect it to fade from view anytime soon - it will keep your ears and mind occupied for hours on end, with one foot in 70's prog-rock heaven (as the wonderful album cover attests), and the other in some far-flung future only accessible through their singular sound.