The Clean member Hamish Kilgour’s second-ever solo album, Finklestein, flips the singer/guitarist/drummer’s path taken on All Of It And Nothing. Having previously gone for intimate, minimalistic performances, this album displays a chock-full production quality akin to a fairytale. It’s fitting change, seeing as the songs are based around a children’s story Kilgour conceived for his son about a kingdom that invents a way of dealing with their depleting gold resources. The songs include organ, saxophone, pedal steel, piano, vibraphone, harmonica, even footsteps (Kilgour is renowned for his stepping), most of it is performed by him and his producer/collaborator Gary Olsen at Olsen’s studio, Marlborough Farms, in Brooklyn. Originally conceived as being a children’s book as well as album, it rides roughshod through this fairytale world with grace.
Finklestein took a year to record, as Kilgour’s involvement with a large part of the Brooklyn music scene, as well as dates with recent New Zealand Music Hall of Fame inductees The Clean, split his time. His songs benefit from this elongated recording period, as each track creates its own space within the album’s world, mixing instruments and melodies in a rainbow of ways. Yet it’s Kilgours songwriting sensibilities that hold the album together, his charismatic and loose arrangements within a congenial environment of musical play.