In Review: LIAM KENNY – A KENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS (it RECORDS, 2014)

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A Kenny For Your Thoughts is a great album that showcases a musician/visionary and a producer/architect working together to turn leaves, shake foundations and build old monuments up anew.This solo-not-solo record contains classic songs reinterpreted for the strident underground.

Liam Kenny is undoubtedly one of the most prolific musicians in Australia. From Bitch Prefect to The Friendsters and everything in between, he has had his finger in his fare share of pies; the latest is one that solely bears his name. One wonders why a man with so many creative outlets would bother with a solo effort, and what could this effort possibly contain that embodies the musician as an individual performer? Well, we have an answer of sorts: A Kenny For Your Thoughts. This is a covers record, one with a carefully selected group of classics that Liam has turned inside out and painted with his own form of abstracted brain fluid.

Lets be clear for a second, this isn’t actually a solo record at all. Liam Kenny has created this record with the assistance of Jack Farley (producer for Beaches, Twerps and Zond). Also, A Kenny For Your Thoughts features contributions by a myriad of other musians: Joel Carey (Peak Twins), Ela Stiles (Bushwalking), Jack Mannix (Circle Pit), Al Montfort (Total Control) and Amy Franz (Super Wild Horses) to name a few. Although it’s Liam’s name up in lights, his effort his lifted high by the hands of friends. If anything, Liam Kenny as the album artist is two people, one with the vision, and one with the means to help make it tangible.

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The choice to eschew original material is an interesting one. Surely, Liam has the creative ability to make songs of his own to showcase. Perhaps his creative well is currently tapped, after watering all of the verdant fields of his varied projects. Maybe Liam is hesitant to put forth anything original for the fear that it won’t be well received, tarnishing his rep as one of Australia’s leading underground artists. I doubt either of these scenarios is the case, in fact, Liam probably doesn’t give a shit about what constitutes a ‘solo’ album (even though this isn’t one); rather, Liam has chosen songs that mean something to him, to reinterpret and in turn make his own. If you are familiar with any of the songs he has chosen here, most of the covers are a far cry from the original. These songs have been altered so thoroughly that they might as well be brand new, thus showcasing a new kind of genius.

Proper analysis of this album is difficult without knowing exactly what significance these songs hold and in turn why they were twisted thus. The styles on display are as varied as Liam Kenny’s projects. Rollicking twang-laced riffs on ‘I’m The Ocean’, emotive minimalist-tech on ‘Eyes Without A Face’ and abrasive dissonant-dance on ‘Avalanche’ – these styles leave little room for a continuous narrative, but the songs themselves are all excellent despite their jarring arrangement.

A Kenny For Your Thoughts is a great album showcasing a musician/visionary and producer/architect working together to turn leaves, shake foundations and build old monuments up anew. Whether or not this is a solo record (it’s not) is irrelevant, as a stand alone album, this is a mighty record of classics reinterpreted to reflect the aesthetic of the underground. My only complaint is that at seven songs the album feels too short, but maybe that’s me being to demanding of a musician who has already delivered so much.

 it RECORDS BANDCAMP / it RECORDS SOUNDCLOUD