KID CORNERED Loopholes ANA004
Kid Cornered’s fifth album, loopholes (originally titled, ‘I Shall Be Unreleased’) was initially going to be given out, in the way that cassette mix-tapes used to be passed on. But the Kid (The Woods Themselves, El Mopa, Via Tania) handed it to Tim Whitten - the maestro, who whittled it, pounded it like a hotel pillow and kicked out the hospital corners. Its intricately crafted loops are held together by warm, soulful melodies in a reverb glow - an indie rock treasure.
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"Driftwood seems pointless: it’s carried by the current rather than having its own energy, it is disconnected from its source, it clutters. But driftwood tells you something about where it’s been, about the flow of life around it, and if you let its tempo set the pace it can open up a different journey.
Matthew Toohey’s new album as Kid Cornered is in some ways musical driftwood. The pace is almost languid, as if set free rather than setting a course. The intentions are blurry, partially obscured by a gauze layer both musical and in production. And even when energy kicks in a little harder on a track such as Ten Steps, it is a quickening not a surge. But let it take you and you find yourself somewhere quite different by the end, your view shifted from internal to external and back again in ways that tell you more about yourself than you think.
As with Machine Translations’ J. Walker, with whom the writer/producer shares an ability to not only conceive but realise a singular vision, Toohey’s preferred method of delivery is a gentle melody laid over a slightly more active rhythm with keyboards or guitars filling rather than reshaping air.
His songs don’t impose which means they can be missed, or dismissed, by a casual listener. That would be a mistake, a waste. On Belly Full Of Freeway this approach conjures up a kind of mellow psychedelia, the organ’s swirl quite hypnotic. On Break Down Tales there’s a guitar figure which recalls the smudged Arizona horizons of Meat Puppets and the desert state comparison extends into Eleven Steps which takes up the mixed natures of Calexico: part sun warmed, part sun bleached.
I also like the way Toohey can build small steps of unease into an otherwise gentle song as the album winds its way to the end, such as Smoking Water (creeping disquiet that seems to exist in the echo to his voice) and Branched (what Lana Del Ray tries to do with more visible effort) before Rudder On The Rail and its hint of potential dance closes the record while making room for some comparisons with Perth’s seemingly inexhaustible supply of psych rock bands. By the time you’ve finished Rudder On The Rail there’s been a fair bit of drift but it’s never been pointless and the destination reached has purpose: you’ve felt something. I like that. - Bernard Zuel July 2017
Kid Cornered is the work of Matt Toohey, with a whole lotta help this time around from Emma Hoy. The Kid started out as chief songwriter for influential Sydney band Browning who released two mini-albums and tipped their hats to their heroes - Crow, These Immortal Souls, and the Dirty Three. Eventually, they fought their way to their last show, their album launch for And the ghosts... supporting for Browning that night and playing their debut show was the Woods Themselves - in which the Kid just happened to be a guitarist/vocalist. He also later joined the inimitable blues/rock band El Mopa.
July 2007 sees the release of Kid Cornered's new self-titled album. Recorded with Emma Hoy (The Rebel Astronauts, El Mopa) in a house cum studio in Petersham, it sees the Kid branch out into a bigger and more diverse sound than his previous records. The songs are more varied and feature some brilliant playing (see guitar on tightrope, ac/dc), psychedelic production (diamond dog), and fractured, abstract lyrics that see him still reeling, still coming from the shadows. At times, the layered arrangements are dark, rich, and beautiful, a unique mix of old and new. The record was mixed at Megaphon Studio in St. Peters and Mastered at Sterling Sound in New York.
In late 2005, the Kid released the bare-bones Six Sisters record on Heavy Records:
"Toohey’s ability writing innocent and unadorned alt-country that’s more blues than rock is a gift, a beautiful pause button on an increasingly superficial existence" - Oz Music Project website.
"a poignant journey that works seamlessly from beginning to end, unraveling a musical history and emotional awareness that rarely features in a current musical context" **** The Brag.
"a charming collection of concise, intelligent and intimate songs" - Australian Skateboarding Magazine.
"the perfect balance of sparseness and warmth" ***1/2 Rolling Stone