so theatrical you expect it to have a curtain call half way through
The Exited Door is a bizarre and baffling album. It’s so theatrical you expect it to have a curtain call half way through. I’ll hazard a guess that Kirk Hamilton grew up watching Fame on tv and I’ll bet his favourite character was Bruno, the curly haired guy who played piano. (Shorovsky!) My favourite was Leroy and to this day I still have a crush on the tv Coco (Erica Gimpel – Irene Cara was in the film). Now then, if you’ve grown out of your kids from Fame phase – and most of us have – don’t panic, because there’s still a lot to like here.
I’m not a big fan of theatrical music and I would die a happy man if I never heard another Andrew Lloyd Webber number, but I’ve been listening to Kirk Hamilton a lot lately and what keeps me coming back is the charm that exudes out of this album. That and the fact that he’s involved Lindsay Garfield in this project and I absolutely love her voice. Lindsay first appeared on Incendiary’s radar last year, singing with Or, The Whale, another band from the Bay Area. Their album Lightpoles and Pines was one of our favourites of last year and there’s a good chance that Through the Exited Door could join this year’s list simply because it’s such a fun listen.
Yes it’s theatrical and occasionally very pompous at times (take Theme for example with its voice over and eerie vocals), but there’s a pop sensibility at the heart of some of the tracks, (the wonderful No Crow, Scarerow especially) that makes sure the album gets its hooks into you. The Mayor may well be the most ridiculous hybrid of bass heavy rock music and horns since Led Zeppelin disappeared up their own arseholes, but damn if it doesn’t make me smile and that’s the joy of the album. There’s a level of eccentricity going on here that makes this easy to recommend to fans of Ben Folds and Stephen Malkmus but I’d also tell any of you that are looking to let a little light into your music to give this a chance. Everybody needs something as ridiculous as Lock You In The Attic in their catalogue. “So you’re a strange Pygmalion/ And just a bit Australian.” Just wait till they try to rap in the middle of it. It’s hilarious, in a good way.
This is one of those rare treats that is so impeccably put together and so effortlessly charming that you’ll be willing to follow it wherever the hell it wants to take you. It’s like no other album you’ll pick up this year. Daft as a brush in many ways, although by no means a comedy or novelty album, it’s a blast from start to finish.
In the end, it’s just good old fashioned entertainment. Grab it if you want to paint a smile on your face.
Words: Damian Leslie