I had the pleasure of catching Kirin J Callinan a few weeks back when he breezed through town as part of a whirlwind east coast tour. A few days prior ‘The Teacher’ premiered on FBI Radio but I missed it, so I was hoping Kirin would give us Brisbaneites a taste of the tune live. I was blessed that night, as not only did Kirin perform ‘The Teacher’, he also performed another newbie which I think was called ‘Just Another Song About Drugs’ – an industrial-tinged number about, well, drugs. ‘The Teacher’ was a standout but I couldn’t formulate a true opinion until it was given a proper release and I could have a few listens online. Last week the song emerged and we all get to listen to the first bit of new material from the envelope-pushing Lothario since his previous LP, Embracism.
As far as Kirin J Callinan songs go, this one is less abrasive and more seductive than many of the tracks on Embracism, but no less insidious. Doused in lounge-jazz smoothness, the song is an ode to the love between a pupil and a mentor, gently probing a touchy subject by framing it from the perspective of a vulnerable youngster. Euphemism is coloured with heart-wrenching longing as Kirin walks the line between inappropriateness and earnestness. Kirin’s schoolboy persona shuns the advances of another for the mature and affecting influence of his mentor, who he believes is the one capable of shaping him as a human being. Subliminally sexual and purposely perverse, this is Kirin J Callinan to a T and I’d be a little bit creeped out if the song wasn’t so silky smooth.
‘The Teacher’ is the first cut from Kirin’s second LP, which will be out next year (maybe).