Speed of the Stars
by Speed of the Stars (Steve Kilbey and Frank Kearns)


Full Review

Kilbey and Kearns dive deep into atmospheric soundscapes and vocals and mysterious, yet revealing lyrics as Speed of the Stars, opening with "Song Within The Shell", a dreamy rumination about the birth of existence as life makes its way to the "shore". The song courses patiently along, wending with diaphanous guitar reverberations, brightly glistening keyboard curls, and extended shimmering cymbals accents.

Speed Of The Stars is a sensuous, aesthetically alluring album in the sense that it piques all of one's senses: The common denominator of these evocative songs, whether they be summery or autumnal, is a sense of warmth, melancholia, yearning, old memories, nostalgia, and contemplation, bringing to mind mental images of hazy, sepia-tinted photographs, sunrays reflecting on water's shimmering surface, sunlight shining through the tree tops, a gentle breeze, and the scent of freshly-cut grass.

★★★★ (4 stars)

The notoriously slow Guns N' Roses have nothing on local hero Steve Kilbey and Irish guitarist Frank Kearns — the pair began recording this album in 1998 in Dublin but didn't complete it until quite recently, in Sydney, backed by a fund pledging program. ("My heroin addiction got in the way," a long-recovered Kilbey has admitted.) Not so far removed from Kilbey's fine mid-career solo LPs, The Slow Crack and Remindlessness, Speed of the Stars is a haunting, meditative set of songs; it plays like the soundtrack to an as yet-unmade film. Kilbey is in a reflective mood, ruminating on such abstracts as "a million eyes in the wilderness" and the autumn haze, as slyly effective rock/pop soundscapes wrap themselves effortlessly around his intimate, half-whispered/half-spoken vocals. There's little of the stately guitar architecture of the Church, although Back Wherever and Vela Velox have hints of their power, but that's because it's not that type of album. Though quiet as a whisper in places, this record still leaves a mark as indelible as a tattoo.

This is the work of two musicians at the height of their powers. This is sk fk sonic dreamscape at their best.

Full Review

At first, it's the speed of the stars in these songs that shock you but as their melodies and words sink in it's the speed of the waters that washes your troubles away and sends you to dream of lost worlds inside the wood, the waves, the moon and anywhere distant and close enough at the same time.