Kim Churchill
With Sword & Shield


4.0
excellent

Review

by Michael Philp USER (42 Reviews)
July 10th, 2010 | 25 replies | 7,388 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: With guitar and harmonica in hand, Kim Churchill sets out to cement his place in the Australian folk music scene. He succeeds, not always spectacularly, but enough for him to be able to command a decent amount of respect nonetheless.

Kim Churchill is a coastal boy, having grown up right on the shoreline of New South Wales, Australia. Just saying that should immediately conjure appropriate images for you. His lifestyle fits his music, occasionally energetic but most of the time just chill. For the most part With Sword and Shield is just Churchill finger-picking his guitar, sometimes he adds a harmonica or a drum kit, and a few random instruments here and there (a cello in “Spending My Soul” for example) but overall his debut is a bare-bones affair. Generally this style either makes or breaks an artist, all too often they just don’t have the charisma or the talent to keep the listener interested over the course of an album. Churchill does thankfully carry that necessary charisma and talent, even if things do get a little repetitive towards the end of the album.

Bob Dylan and John Butler are the most obvious influences for Churchill’s guitar playing, which ranges from chilled out finger-picking to frantic strumming. He really does have a talent in that area, happily celebrating his idols while also creating his own distinct sound. Part of that distinct sound is the rhythms he drums into his guitar on occasion, which are actually surprisingly complex and remarkable. No song better demonstrates this then the opener, “This System”, which also ends up displaying a lot of his other talents. During the intro Churchill rolls and bangs his fingers across the board of the guitar while simultaneously strumming sporadically and forcefully. It’s an excellent, unique sound and a brilliant way to kick off the album.

His lyrics and vocals are much the same. He’s always passionate, but when the music gets going he follows it, like when he shouts “I’m not getting old” in “This System”. On those occasions there’s no denying that his voice is powerful, distinctly nasally with subtle, rougher undertones. When he’s more subdued he shines as well though, such as the darker “When The Wattle Blooms” where he whispers almost bitterly “how strange that they must take this land in the same way it was snatched from their hands, life it seems is full of turning rings.”

Unfortunately Churchill’s creativity begins to run dry towards the end of [WSaS. Running On’s soaring vocal melody sounds suspiciously similar to the one on “Loving Home” and the combination of stomping rhythms, kookaburra like harmonica, and shouting vocals on “Sunshine Shore” resemble “This System” too closely for comfort. It’s a shame because if those tracks hadn’t been present this would have been much stronger release.

Having said that, With Sword and Shield is a strong release. It clearly demonstrates Churchill’s abilities, his influences (at one point he even makes a direct reference to Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”) and his own distinctive traits, and uses them to their full extent. He’s already toured with the likes of The John Butler Trio, maybe in a few years time he’ll be head-lining the shows. I have no doubt he’s capable of that.



Recent reviews by this author
Tom Waits Bad As MeNothing Rhymes With David =
Nothing Rhymes With David Double Negative, All The Way!Jebediah Kosciuszko
Cut Copy ZonoscopeToni Collette and The Finish Beautiful Awkward Pictures
user ratings (6)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Eclectic
July 10th 2010



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just waiting for this to get sent to the other album page because the system didn't like me accidentally clicking "other" when choosing which album to post the review on.

Bitchfork
July 10th 2010



7584 Comments


Australian folk?





























































































































































like David?

Bitchfork
July 10th 2010



7584 Comments


if so it sounds ghey

Eclectic
July 10th 2010



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh no, very different to David

Bitchfork
July 10th 2010



7584 Comments


well you like inaprils so die::A:A:A

Eclectic
July 10th 2010



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

INAPRILS IS DA BEST RTITS THER IS SO B QUITE FGT

Bitchfork
July 10th 2010



7584 Comments


No, they are not and you sir are an ignorant troll. I'm going to go back to my drone and ambient-savvy half-indie hipsters, now. I bid you adieu.

Eclectic
July 10th 2010



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You go do that, hipster kitty

Bitchfork
July 10th 2010



7584 Comments


I AM AMBIENT KITTY. AMBIENT KITTY HATES HIPSTER KITTY FOR SURFACING AFTER HIM AND TAKING PITCHFORK FROM HIM.

Eclectic
July 10th 2010



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As much as you'd like to deny it you have much more in common then you realize.
And you didn't have Pitchfork in the first place, it had you. Remember, you didn't lose Pitchfork, it lost you.

Bitchfork
July 10th 2010



7584 Comments


NO. I like Stars of the Lid more than they do no.

crazyblinddude
July 10th 2010



3389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review. this sounds like it would be a nice listen.

Eclectic
July 10th 2010



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

NO. I like Stars of the Lid more than they do no.

Oh just accept your heritage, hipster kitty is a nice enough cat once you get to know him.

Thanks crazyblinddude, just ignore my misinformed last.fm shout, wasn't thinking.

crazyblinddude
July 10th 2010



3389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

its all good. i kinda just use the same name for everything on the internet. made the name when i was like 12, but i just use it for all my non official stuff. but whatever.

anyways if this is like you describe it im sure it warrants the rating. havent heard too many people who can pull off a good bob dylan though.

Eclectic
July 10th 2010



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I would do that, but my tastes are only really eclectic when it comes to music, so it looks weird on something like IMDB.

Yeah, most try and miss the mark. I just had to compare them, this guy ADORES Dylan, I went to one of his live shows and just before he covered "Subterranean Homesick Blues" he explained how much he loved the guy, it happens to be quite a lot.

crazyblinddude
July 10th 2010



3389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

but rightfully so. if the guy's main influence is dylan, youre definitely gonna hear it in the music. so the comparison is fine.

i managed to find the first part of the album so far. i need to find the second half. but ill definitely give this a listen as soon as i do.

Eclectic
July 10th 2010



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty much.

Awesome, I personally find the first half better anyway so eh.

crazyblinddude
July 10th 2010



3389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah you said it gets a little repetitive towards the latter part. ehhh it doesnt seem right only rating half an album. but ill give it a spin.

crazyblinddude
July 10th 2010



3389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nvm found the second part

Dryden
July 10th 2010



12928 Comments


big news



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy