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Kirk Lake | Kirk Lake (Dreamy)
Lake's third album, following 1995's So You Got Anything Else? and 1997's The Black Lights is very much an album of two halves, conveniently separated by the first of two conveniently titled incidental samples - interlude (the other, the end of music, closes things, appropriately enough, with the sampled crackle of a vinyl record's run-out grooves). Occasional label-mate Jamie Owen (heard on last issue's compilation) provides the music and instrumentation for the first three tracks, the traditional guitar, bass, drums and piano in sharp contrast to the electronic whirrs and blips that sit beneath Lake's voice-over on The Adventures of an Abstract Detective, one of five decidedly more experimental, though no less effective collaborations with Stuart Smith. Where the two directions meet is on the album's most affecting song, the acoustic guitar minimalism of Painted Horses which, despite being played by Smith, sits comfortably after Owen's opening trio, each of which is reminiscent, to varying degrees, of Mark Eitzel and American Music Club due in no small part to Lake's wordiness and laid-back delivery. The penultimate Wedding Song, though not a cover of the Dylan song of the same name, does steal its twisted blues orchestration from Blonde on Blonde's Rainy Day Women but, for all these lazy references, Kirk Lake - the album - exudes originality at every turn. Who else, after all, would list 'ashtrays, dustbins, walls, ceiling and floor' among the credits? Probably the same guy who would credit The Frank Yonco Fire Corpswith playing them.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #6 - Autumn 2000