Killer Guitar 2013
A murderous case of a “singer not the song” paradigm shift with a guitar-slinger riding hollow shotgun.
The template is set from the off, once the pipes of Murray Hockridge tap, a cappella way, into the soul-searching vibe of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” that turns into a soul-sucking exercise over the fellow Brit Dave Kilminster‘s six-string soundscape and strum before am exquisite solo: the former, a vocalist of impressive caliber, fails to cut to the core of any cover on display, while the latter, more versatile axeman than most of original players on these tracks, has a little space to fly. There is vignetted vigor in the bluesy “Wish You Were Here” which Dave regularly plays with Roger Waters, but the rest of the songs holds an often vain wait for the acoustic guitar to kick in in the melismatic thick that’s so predictable in the Jeff Buckley-patented slant on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” or George Michael’s “Father Figure” usual sway. So much for the imaginative interpretation.
Where the duo excel is on the romantic reading of “Street Spirit” that distills RADIOHEAD’s prototype to its raw emotional nerve as well as on the unexpectedly glorious jazzifying of “Sara Smile” by HALL & OATES. Yet, masterfully managing to paint the Balearic bronze all over Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” which goes lazily long as befits its thematic drift, they completely lose the humorous flow of 10CC’s “I’m Not In Love” whose bass-brandishing balladry borders on lachrymose magic, whereas Hockridge’s embellishments eat at away at the dazed lonelines of Elton’s “Rocket Man” or STEELY DAN’s “Any Major Dude Will Tell You” wrapped in the fusiony flamenco, and Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” gets too dry with Kilminster’s Gothic approach.
Nothing wrong with delivery here, Dave’s voice supporting Murray’s vocals and Hockridge’s guitar fleshing out that of Kilminster’s, but what works fine in a live environment doesn’t smoke on record; what with this album having long languished on the shelf, it’s time for the two to come up with original material now.