Kylie Auldist: Still Life
- Kylie Auldist is one of the best things about funk'n'soul in Australia and indeed the world, today. Her enormous voice, courtesy – in-part I'd guess – of her Samoan heritage can usually be heard just blasting over the top of the funky battery of brass belonging to The Bamboos, another one of the Australia's great funk'n'soul institutions, and one with which Kylie Auldist's name is inextricably associated. Indeed the funk-brainiac behind The Bamboos, Lance Ferguson has co-written and produced all of Kylie's three solo records.
I've always said that if you can have Kylie Auldist in your band, then you should have Kylie Auldist in your band and the same has pretty much been true of Lance. Lately though I've been wondering. The Bamboo's star-studded return to the recorded medium, Medicine Man, earlier this year, was huge for the band and more power to them for reaping the successes they so richly deserve. I was a little bummed that Kylie only got a little bit of the limelight while the band wheeled in their procession of guest stars: Aloe Blacc, Megan Washington, Tim Rogers, Daniel Merriweather, bloody Bobby Flynn. Along with the focus on stardom, the sound of the band moved towards a newly soulful pop that is a little cloyingly crowd-friendly. I found myself yearning for the deep-funk which The Bamboos are famed for.
If I was hoping for a little succour out of Kylie's third full-length, Still Life, a little is, I guess, what I'm getting. Listening to the bright, up-beat, disco flourishes of single, Counting On You, is neat and all, but give me some serious funky firepower to back it up, please. Still Life, across it's length delivers comparatively little of it. It's like listening to A Burt Bacharach greatest hits where you get to the last third of the record that's all the naff 80s synthesised stuff, only here, it's most of the record. I'm sure I offended about a million people just there, but c'mon, really, it's not Burt's best work and I've had more fun with Kylie Auldist too.
I don't want to hate on this too hard, I mean, it's Kylie Auldist and Lance Ferguson, that's never going to be too bad. It may be too that – as with The Bamboos – this is exactly what most people want to listen to. In which case I may have to go and pull out my back-catalogue of Kylie Auldist records, pour myself a drink and get a little misty-eyed thinking of old times, because Kylie Auldist can get me as souful as anything.
- Chris Cobcroft.