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Frozen Orange

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Album Review

Frozen Orange is David Kilgour's second record for Merge, and it is every bit as wonderful as A Feather in the Engine and stacks up well against his best work with the Clean. Kilgour has been making smart, melodic, and interesting indie for more years than anyone would care to add up, and unlike many indie rockers who seem to be merely shuffling along because the music is now their career, Kilgour is creating some of his best music yet. The album flows like sweet maple syrup from beginning to end, Kilgour's intimate croon caressing you like kind words from an old friend. Everything is near perfect throughout, from the production to the pace to (especially) the guitar work. The best song on the album is unlike anything Kilgour has done before; "Gold in Sound" is a laid-back, almost soft rock tune with gooey background shoo-wops and all kinds of guitars, keyboards, and vocals running through the song. It is a classic kitchen-sink production that would have sounded perfect on AM radio in the '70s and sounds great on an iPod, too. Most of the rest of the disc is more straightforward. "Frozen Orange" is the most Clean-sounding track with its driving beat and repetitive lyrics; "Dogs Barking" calls to mind Yo La Tengo at their most tuneful; "Blue Sky" and "Rolling" are glittering slices of cosmic country equal to anything modern country & western space cowboys like Beachwood Sparks have done. Elsewhere, the layers of guitars, the predominance of midtempo songs, and Kilgour's conversational voice call to mind the Church at times. Subtract that band's often pompous approach and substitute a self-effacing New Zealand attitude, though. Check out "G Major 7" or "Rocket" and it should become clear. Despite any comparisons one might make, Frozen Orange is completely Kilgour and completely good. Anyone who may have followed the Clean back in the day and lost track of Kilgour should find this a perfect way to rediscover one of the (for the most part) hidden major talents of the indie rock past and present. Everyone else just needs to check this record and this guy out.


Born: Dunedin, New Zealand

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

From his earliest days as a member of the legendary Clean onward, singer/songwriter David Kilgour stood among the most important figures on the New Zealand pop landscape. A native of Dunedin, Kilgour first emerged in 1979 as the guitarist of the Clean, the highly influential trio he co-founded with his drummer brother Hamish; when the group disbanded three years later, the brothers reunited in the Great Unwashed, which proved even shorter-lived. After a few years out of music, the mercurial Kilgour...
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Frozen Orange, David Kilgour
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