Kirin J Callinan – Embracism review

kirin-j-callinan-embracism’s Sara Potter tries to avoid brain explosions when reviewing Kirin J Callinan’s debut longplayer:

WARNING: What you are about to hear is one of the most exciting albums to come out of Australia this year. If you find yourself to be a square, then your brain may explode.

‘Holy crazy!’ was the first thing to come out of my mouth after listening to Kirin J Callinan’s debut album, Embracism. Ok sure, he is signed to XL Recordings with some HUGE names, with the likes of, Radiohead, The White Stripes and Adele just to name a few, yet Callinan offers something fresh, new, exciting and at the same time overwhelming. It’s a must hear for all music lovers.

As I first delved into some of the songs I found them to be harsh, raw and shrill to the ear, but on my second listen I found the heavy Australian accent and the twang he puts behind it helps to bring the story and song to life. Halo, the first track, is a slow introduction of what is to come. A balance of all the crazy effects that are used throughout the record bought together by the catchy repetitive chorus and gang vocals. A damn strong, enjoyable opener.

Up next is the title-track. Now, what I said before about square heads exploding… this was a song I had in mind. From the minimalist loop that sits behind the in-depth, visual vocals, then exploding into an experimental abyss halfway through the song, almost feeling industrial at times, perfectly mixing loud and soft together.

Come On USA follows this vibe with added electro, even dropping The Boss’s name in there, I mean he is the American music god. Oh, Victoria M. This is my favourite, from its beautiful pop ballad vibe, the way Callinan’s vocals flow through it playing with falsetto. The piano and strings just add that extra spesh element maybe a little The Cure influence too. Total pop track, but DAMN I love it!

Rolling through the songs… Scraps and Chardonnay Sean, these have a dark, brooding feel to them, mainly focused on the lyrics. These two are the storytellers, with beautiful tales.

As Embracism, draws to an end, it’s crystal clear to see that Kirin J Callinan is an extremely talented individual. The way it all fits together and flows and the way the album balances high-energy experimental tracks, then entwines ballads and pop songs is extraordinary.

Embracism is pretty spesh and absolutely worth a listen. Who knows? You may even find love or a new appreciation for Kirin J Callinan, I know I did.



Review by Sara Potter.