Near Enough Records (2018)
Kyle Jenkins is the singer-songwriter behind Toowoomba-based band Suicide Swans and even though they’re in the midst of a prolific streak of excellent albums, he’s also found time to release his debut solo album which hits similarly high peaks in both song quality and sound.
Suicide Swans excel at spreading their wings, exploring time and textures in their widescreen approach to music. On Meltdown, Jenkins doesn’t stray from the general sonic territory of his band but he does tighten up the structures, dials back the intensity and tightens the frame around these dozen songs. He’s been quoted as saying the album is “About the tension between dusk and dawn – that fine edge of a moment when the day and night are at tension between each other. A feeling I seem to have as a person.” You get that sense of push and pull in the songs and his strength is how he can marry lyrical themes with the sound of the songs. Whether that’s the glorious skronking Stooges shakedown of ‘Perfect Robes’, the playful rhythm and melodies of ‘Wire’, the hypnotic dread-laced vibe of ‘See Saw’, the soul strut of ‘Stringers’ or the surging, propellant groove and hammering piano of ‘Sons & Daughters’.
It’s a fair call to peg this as alt-country – you can hear that at the core of the songs, but by drawing on everything from garage rock and soul, to psychedelic and straight up rock, Jenkins has shown he holds a diverse hand of musical cards and has the ability to shake up the game with quite thrilling results.