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Kinane; Bat: A Lifetime To Kill

Earlier in the year I had the good fortune to review the most recent album, Yesterday Today & Tomorrow, from Irish rockers Glyder. Now a few months down the line I still think it is one of the best rock albums I've heard all year, so my expectations were high when I discovered that Bat Kinane, their guitarist and one of the band's main song writers was about to release his first solo album. One of the most interesting aspects about A Lifetime To Kill, is that rather than just rehash the same ideas and vibes that his main band do so well, Kinane has viewed this solo outing as an opportunity to reveal a whole new side to his music, having produced a set of songs that take you on a gently bluesy, folky and in some places slightly Americana journey, that is moving and involving both musically and lyrically.

With a cast list that includes one of Ireland's top blues and soul performers Rob Strong, Dave Roe who played in Johnny Cash's band for a decade, Pat McManus of Mama's Boys playing fiddle and a guitar solo on the song "The Intrepid Fox" and the other three quarters of Glyder helping out (Davy Ryan drums on the whole album, while Tony Cullen and Pete Fisher make cameo appearances), you can be rest assured that the quality of musicianship on the album is unquestionably high. More importantly the song writing is top notch and varied, but in a way that allows the album to flow beautifully when listened to in its entirety.

Opening track "The Yellow Moon" kicks things off with a beautiful acoustic guitar motif lulling you towards one of the most glorious choruses you're likely to hear anywhere that is forceful, yet fragile in equal measure and in a just world, would be a major hit. However the stomp of "Makin' A Fool Out Of Me" changes the mood completely with a great blues soaked guitar solo that is instantly recognisable as Bat and some atmospheric chanting vocals adding an air of menace. In a way, that describes the wonderful weaving story of this album, as the vibe alters slightly from song to song, while the personal, heartfelt lyrics tie everything together and while Bat will concede that he will never be the strongest vocalist in the world, the fact that he sings his own stories adds a real weight to the album.

My own personal highlight on the disc is where the singer/songwriter almost Neil Young countrified approach of "You Know You Have A Friend" segues into the thumping bass line and upbeat riff of "Stagestruck '74". The latter tells the story of the excitement of a young music fan making his annual pilgrimage to see one of Bat's hero Rory Gallagher hit the stage, the lyrics are so evocative that you can sense the excitement in the hall as Rory tears through his best songs and this song is the next best thing to travelling back in time to witness the event for yourself! The gentle twists and turns continue with the Bruce Hornsby like piano and slow-handesque guitar solo of "No Turnin'", the gentle strum and fiddle of "The Intrepid Fox" and the wonderful album closer "My Song". That last track conveys the frustrations, doubts and ultimate satisfaction of trying to earn a living from being a song writer and while melancholy, still manages to close the album on a very uplifting and slightly defiant note.

Too often solo albums are a wasted opportunity, however Bat Kinane has grasped this chance with both hands and on A Lifetime To Kill, not only illustrates what a talented musician and songwriter he is, but also shows that he is capable of stretching out of the genre he is best known for with excellent results.

Track Listing
1. The Yellow Moon
2. Makin' A Fool Out Of Me
3. Voodoo Bones
4. Jeremiah Jones
5. A Lifetime To Kill
6. The Intrepid Fox
7. You Know You Have A Friend
8. Stagestruck '74
9. Light Of My Life
10. No Turnin' Back
11. My Song

Added: October 8th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Bat Kinane Official Web Site
Hits: 2094
Language: english

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