Unpredictable Australian artist Kirin J Callinan’s debut album is one of dramatic contrast. On one side it is intense, macho, and angry. On the other: melancholic and heartfelt.
For the most intense tracks – ‘Embracism’, ‘Way II War’ – he evokes the approach of Scott Walker’s ‘Bish Bosch’ and conjures up an unsettling sense of chaos. However, Kirin’s Aussie-accented vocals are more feral sounding, and there’s also a heavier trance side to proceedings, making it far from derivative.
The other side is the more romantic sound of ‘Landslide’ and ‘Victoria M’. Here Callinan’s intensity is comparable to the poignancy heard in the lyrical delivery by Echo & The Bunnymen.
The contrasting moods possess a lucidity that only an autobiographical album could achieve. ‘Embracism’ is honest in a way that most LPs are ashamed to attempt. And as the record develops, you’ll realise Callinan is not like most: his songwriting is draws on a wealth of raw personal experiences, brimming with the exuberance of someone creatively unleashed.
Callinan’s prolific past, as a guitar for hire without being the primary songwriter, frames this debut as an opportunity he’s waited some time for.
It’s Callinan’s ability to vividly convey his experiences onto ‘Embracism’ that make it such an immersive and intense journey. This one will grow and reward with every new listen, as you get to know the troubled character behind the barbed words.
Words: Cai Trefor
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