Release Date: Oct 29, 2013
Record label: Modern Love
In the beginnings of civilization, we made buildings out of stone. Our ancestors craved permanence, immortality. Of course, those empires fell, leaving behind monuments of their own former magnificence and its passage, scarred by memory so subject to fabrication and forgetting, into myth or history, almost all but those etched into hermetic tombs buried in the sands of time.
There's a track on the new album by the Stranger, the latest project in a long list of many from James Leyland Kirby, titled "About to Enter a Strange New Period". As a literal reflection of Kirby's musical shifts, it couldn't be more appropriate. This is, after all, a guy who has recorded under the names Notorious P.I.G. and Billy Ray Cyrix.
British ambient artist James Leyland Kirby has surfaced in the electronic genre under various monikers, as fitting for whatever project he’s embarking on at the time. Though he has recorded as Billy Ray Cyrix and Notorious P.I.G., he also has worked as V/Vm and as the Caretaker. His other project, the Stranger, has now put out its first album in five years, and, if the album title wasn’t enough of a tip-off, it is a rather bleak and dour affair.
It's often tempting to view the many different projects guided by James Kirby as different facets of the man's personality. V/Vm was Kirby the prankster with a wry grin, gleefully distorting the contours of ubiquitous pop songs. As The Caretaker the Stockport-born artist delves into the cobwebbed basement of memory, both his own and that of others, mournfully lamenting in its fragility and ultimate loss.
Juliana Hatfield and Matthew Caws have been indie-rock bandleaders for more than 20 years: Mr. Caws with Nada Surf, Ms. Hatfield under her own name. And they must be well aware of the paradox when they sing “Such a loner/Hardly bring anyone over,” to open the thoroughly collaborative album they ….