Editor's Rating

This is a magnificent album - an enormously successful collaboration between two maestros of composition and exposition. 'Jupiter 13' is packed full of stadium-filling anthems with melody and poise while at the same time creating something alien, unnerving and wonderful in its shimmering sci-fi psychedelia.

9
Foghorn Records/MGM

If there was any doubt about the ability of The Church’s Steve Kilbey to eat, sleep and dream brilliant music without limit, this new album with long time collaborator Martin Kennedy is proof. Kilbey is without doubt the hardest working musician in the business – but extraordinarily there is absolutely no dilution of quality. One of his greatest strengths is his ability to collaborate with the best – augmenting and magnifying the end result. He has worked frequently with Martin Kennedy under the Kilbey/Kennedy moniker and this new release is just magnificent.

Jupiter 13 is a statuesque work of art: 12 standard songs and a spooky spoken word prologue and epilogue (reappearing in parts in the title track) that bleed with gorgeous layers of sounds and melody.

Kilbey spent last year rolling out a series of brilliant albums – both by himself and with Gareth Koch while working on the next The Church album. Kennedy recorded the bulk of the album’s instruments from his home in Tasmania before presenting the work to Kilbey for the vocals and final recording in Sydney.

The result is perhaps close to a concept album about a mysterious event with a sci-fi tone and Kilbey’s unique sense of storytelling – psychedelic musings that are spiritual, alien and euphoric.

There are many corpuscles in the blood running through the veins of this album – the psychedelia of Pink Floyd, the archness and theatricality of David Bowie and a whole generation of shoegaze and dream pop – from (obviously) The Church through to Ride, Cocteau Twins and The Verve. And at the heart, graceful melodies that tighten the throat and flutter the heart.

Tracks like ‘Circus’ are classic driving indie pop that reflects a Churchian jangle and melody – indelible choruses and mountain-high walls of guitars and controlled feedback. ‘We Are Missing’ and ‘Insane’ are hugely anthemic – imperial and majestic tracks that makes the heart beat faster.

The title track is nine spectacular minutes of psychedelia and unnerving spoken tracks.

A disaster. A mistake. A miracle. A mystery. Jupiter 13.
One hundred years until they open the files.
Goodnight.
I’m trapped in the airlock and there’s no gravity.

‘No Attachment’ is a more reflective track but still manages to exude a incredible presence with its sombre strings and measured pace. ‘Holiday’ continues with this reverie, featuring glorious choirs, gently picked guitars and Kilbey’s unique voice that coalesces into a celestial chorus. Just breathtaking.

‘Liquorice Comfits’ is a psychedelic swirl with its mix of unnerving speaking tracks and chanted chorus.

This is a magnificent album – an enormously successful collaboration between two maestros of composition and exposition. ‘Jupiter 13’ is packed full of stadium-filling anthems with melody and poise while at the same time creating something alien, unnerving and wonderful in its shimmering sci-fi psychedelia.

Jupiter 13 is available on 5 March 2021 and you can preorder download/streams from here or from the link below: