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Kilroy
The Neon Gate
Ssilent Music, Inc.
www.helpwantedproductions.com/kilroy.htm


Every so often, I get a CD whose packaging screams "Hi, I made this in my basement. Please consider me for review, even though only 12 people have ever heard me play. Including my mom." Sometimes, the content inside mirrors the packaging. And then there are those other times where I am duly impressed. At first glance, the liners for The Neon Gate have that dorky, amateur, made-in-my-basement look, but there is something so distinctively and unapologetically arrogant (in an '80s New Wave sort of way) in its stark presentation that, as I turn it in my hands, seems like a dare that says: I rock, and I know it. Try and tell me different.

It is at these times, that critics slaver at the demented thoughts of schadenfreude; the opportunity to kick the chair of pomposity out from under the arrogant knave who not only willing places the noose around his own neck, but checks to make sure you have tied it fast and sure--quick to instruct you, had you knot.

But this ain't one o' them days. Kilroy rocks. He knows it. I know it. And now, you know it. Who the hell is this guy, and what gives him the cajones to make such cocksure music? His website? Those are supposed to be slick promotion tools, right? Wrong. His is laughable, a one-page affair; a biopic and some arty photo. The kids in their basement at least learned how to use Flash along with ProTools…

And just to get a little further out onto the limb- he's not afraid to be more retro than retro: much of the foundation of this album is based on new wave rock, (ere the retro) but on "My Father's Music", he valiantly declares "I like my father's music, maybe I'm the first. I like my father's music, modern music is much worse." (Who likes to admit to that?) "I was born and raised on Roger Daltrey." (Even more retro) I'll add The Rolling Stones in there as well, since "Sagitarian Song" has more swagger than Jagger and sounds like The New Wave of Rolling Stones if there'd ever been such a thing. His vocals on the two aforementioned songs are delivered with such a lip-curling sneer that it would make Sid Vicious cry (were he not so much fertilizer these days).

An emo track ("The Phone"), a techno one ("The Road People") and an ambient noise tune ("The Dryer") are thrown in to flesh the album out and create a well-rounded debut for a guy whose previous band efforts you've never heard of before, either. This is indie at its lowbudgetnessest, producing a bigger, better sound than it should be capable of, and despite the range the material covers, they all fit together (stylistically speaking) quite well. This isn't just a "Show-Off Record" that we sometimes get from talented artists looking for a break that amount to just them trying their hand at different genres; no, it is a complete and singularly discrete album. Shawn Kilroy applies his "Kilroyness" to every song, transmogrifying their essences to suit his brand.

So now I look like the jackass, slipping on a banana peel just as I prepare to kick that stool out. Ah well, even the character assassins have bad days…

-JD

Track Listing:

1. The Shower
2. Sagitarian Song
3. Stroll on Sansom
4. The Phone
5. The Letter
6. My Father's Music
7. Georgie's Home
8. Guarded January Dynamite
9. Pissing Your Life Away
10. The Neon Gate
11. The Dryer
12. The Road People


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Mike Doughty



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