The Caretaker – Everywhere At The End Of Time
Similar to The Caretaker’s ‘An Empty Bliss Beyond This World‘, Leyland Kirby’s latest offering under this alias is shooting to the best sellers list and is likely to find its way on many a ‘best of 2016’ list too. What grabbed people with ‘An Empty Bliss‘ was Kirby’s originality in assembling dishevelled old jazz 78′s with a deliberately nostalgic haze yet still presented as a modern work of art. I have seen criticism in some reviews that Kirby hasn’t completely thrown away his signature sound with ‘Everywhere At The End Of Time‘ and I have to wonder whether this is completely fair. His latest offering has some of the finest artwork I’ve ever seen for starters, and this perfectly portrays the theme and concept of the album – memory and onset Alzheimers, the first in a six part series documenting the collapse of the human brain as this dreadful disease sets in.
The sound is indeed similar to his much celebrated work, but he has chosen to keep the theme of memory at the forefront of his work. It had been executed so well before, so why deviate now? Kirby has been very brave in tackling the sensitive subject of Alzheimers in his work and this has also received some mixed reviews. Some of the tracks have a reasonably up-beat persona to them recalling an old dance hall and evenings full of merriment and such a positive set of sounds could be perceived as trying to play down the gripping effect of Alzheimers. But the pieces are cloaked in crackle, with the sounds stuck in a loop as the memories flicker and interspersed between these dancehall pieces are the saddest of piano solos. For me, these piano moments really drive home the theme of the album and ‘Everywhere At The End Of Time’ not only creates feelings of sadness, but it creates moments of reflection too, that will make you smile.