After spending the past few years as something of a journeyman, it comes as no surprise that Kirin J Callinan‘s second album, ‘Bravado’, is a creation with few boundaries.
What does come as a surprise, even for those who have come to expect the unexpected from Kirin, is the stylistic direction undertaken on ‘Bravado’. With his 2013 debut album ‘Embracism’, Kirin emerged as a firebrand guitarist, pushing the instrument’s capabilities to logical extremes. On ‘Bravado’, industrial macho menace has been relegated to the side-lines. In its place? Unabashed EDM euphoria.
Slow-burning adoration garnered by ‘Embracism’ fuelled something of a multi-year voyage for Kirin J Callinan. Like all good adventures, ‘Bravado’ isn’t so much about the setting, but the people met along the way.
The paradox of Kirin J Callinan is that of being recognised by peers as an artist without peer, resulting in an almost irresistible tractor beam for meaningful collaboration. After presenting as a singular figure on his debut, Kirin now celebrates newfound and longstanding alliances on ‘Bravado’‘s tracklist with an eclectic cast of featured guests.
Likeminded contemporaries such as Mac DeMarco, Weyes Blood, Connan Mockasin and Alex Cameron stand alongside iconic Antipodean voices Neil Finn and Jimmy Barnes. It’s an act of parlaying mutual respect into creation. Jimmy Barnes gifted his world-conquering vocal to ‘Big Enough’ after Kirin penned a heartfelt letter requesting the services of the “most iconic scream in rock history”. Barnesyobliged with an above-and-beyond ear-bursting wail (complemented by the tranquil tones of champion whistler Molly Lewis).
An overt sense of togetherness imbues Kirin‘s prior exploration of sex and death with a celebratory tone, contrasting with the previous album’s isolated aggression. Amongst the exaggerated EDM drops and sentimental balladry, a sincere form of humanity prevails.
The core collaboration at the heart of ‘Bravado’ is that of Kirin and the album’s producer, Aaron Cupples (The Drones, Paul Kelly, Dan Kelly). The creative partnership came about in London, Kirin being introduced to the producer by operatic songstress Sophia Brous, initially to record a duet cover of k.d. lang‘s ‘Constant Craving’ for a mutual friends wedding. Since that moment, Kirin lived with & worked alongside Aaron throughout the recording process for ‘Bravado’.
“I’m jacked on how international the record feels,” Kirin states. ‘Bravado’ extends its scope beyond the locations visited during its creation. With the bulk of the album’s creation taking place in London, new elements were added during North American tours and back home in Australia. The result isn’t anchored to any geographical location, conveying a united globe in celebration.
The over-arching tone on ‘Bravado’ is defiantly triumphant. “I had a lot of self-doubt whether the timing is right,” Kirin says.
“It may have been too soon a year or two ago. But I think now, more than ever, it’s a time to celebrate the good things, to celebrate each other. Not that the world is necessarily lookin’ to me for the answers… just yet”
For all the album’s universal characteristics, Kirin still calls Sydney home. While newfound influences are at the fore of the record, Kirin‘s long standing reverence for Australia’s great songwriting history shines through. ‘Friend Of Lindy Morrison’ pays homage to the legendary Go-Betweensdrummer.
A distinct brand of wry humour, an extension of Kirin‘s character, threads ‘Bravado’. It’s there on the cover: achieving sincerity while taking the piss, without it being contradictory. The nature of this spectrum makes ‘Bravado’impossible to pigeonhole. The record often employs lowbrow sonic devices as a bait and switch, rewarding a look beyond the gaudy window dressing.
Late last year, Kirin was hand-picked by Crowded House as special guest for their four night landmark return to the Sydney Opera House forecourt. Kirin has just been announced on the 2017 lineup for Splendour In The Grass, and is also starring in season two of the critically acclaimed & Emmy Award winning Jane Campion drama ‘Top Of The Lake’, due for release in 2017.
Kirin J Callinan + Bea1991 LIVE
1st October 2017 | Start 20:00 CET
Kantine Am Berghain | Am Wriezener Bahnhof | 10243 Berlin