Kirin J. Callinan
Embracism


3.8
excellent

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
August 12th, 2013 | 26 replies | 5,370 views


Release Date: 07/01/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The stars are all dirt and God is in the water… and hell is right here on earth.

Controversial, provocative and flamboyant are the most frequent adjectives used to describe Kirin J. Callinan. Once the guitarist for promising indie rockers Mercy Arms, this Australian musician has been notorious for his artistic provocations, thriving on testing his audience and introducing taboo subjects into his music. It's particularly fitting that his long awaited debut Embracism feels like a deliberate provocation too. On the surface, it's a stream-of-consciousness type of endeavor that doesn't shy away from exploring every idea no matter how risky or jarring it may be. However, this potentially messy output turns out to be oddly alluring in the long run. The word 'restraint' may be foreign to this artist, but he certainly knows how to operate within the confines of various genres, which makes for an intriguing album that constantly shifts between markedly different music styles and moods.

Embracism revolves around the notions of physicality and masculinity, being seldom covered in popular music these days. This interest in the physical not only informs the record’s subject matter, but also affects its sound. Subsequently, the album starts with the trio of abrasive electro-industrial tracks that are perfectly in line with the main theme, treading a fine path between the ferocity of Nine Inch Nails and the gothic tendencies of Depeche Mode. The opener “Halo” builds from a curious trail of feedback into a quivering chorus, showcasing Cillinan's aptitude for composing infectious melodies. The blistering title track follows with its unadulterated take on the animalism inherent in the male ego, aptly built against a backdrop of savage electronica. “Come On USA” perplexes with its comic skewering of modern American society, yet the clever production of Kim Moyes (The Presets) saves it from mediocrity.

The album gets substantially less abrasive when the fourth and fifth tracks make their presence felt. “Victoria M.” is a brash baroque pop tune that enchants with Callinan's passionate crooning, while the dark ballad “Scraps” reveals the singer at his most exposed, detailing how he paid back the girl who broke his heart. In contrast, “Chardonnay Sean,” which is the most emotionally affecting cut on the disc, commemorates a deceased friend who died in a car accident. The shift from aggressive to vulnerable comes totally unexpected, just like many sonic flourishes throughout the presentation. The fact that the record manages to surprise at every turn is nothing short of commendable, bearing in mind loads of overly predictable, dull releases music fans are flooded with nowadays. In addition, Callinan accompanies his perpetually altering style with often theatrical, warped-sounding baritone vocals reminiscent of Scott Walker and Depeche Mode's David Gahan, proving equally convincing in morbid ballads and robust numbers.

While Embracism seems remarkably confident for a debut release, not every experiment works in its inferior latter half. Both “Way II War” and “Love Delay” score points for being daring and adventurous, yet they fail to make a lasting impression serving more as collections of startling ideas than actual songs. Even in the record's least appealing moments, Callinan never ceases to manifest his commanding presence, though. Both primordial and forward-thinking in his approach, the musician is more than his reputation as a provocateur might imply. At its core, his first album is a potent artistic statement that's at once endearing and wildly eccentric.




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user ratings (13)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2013



7312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Embracism:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_gtwhDklaQ

Victoria M.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Pb0HJPS9EI

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

Cygnatti
August 12th 2013



21349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

'bout time this got a review.

Digging: The Avalanches - Since I Left You

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2013



7312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

I'm genuinely surprised we're the only users who've heard it.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
August 12th 2013



7021 Comments


As its title suggests, Embracism is concerned about the notions of physicality and masculinity, being seldom tackled in music these days.

lol'd

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greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2013



7312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Ah yeah. It was odd. ;) I've changed that.

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
August 12th 2013



1631 Comments


I'm sure I'd appreciate the lyrics if I gave this a close listen, but I just can't get into those vocals.

Digging: Sallie - Moonlight Detective

Cygnatti
August 12th 2013



21349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

they're abrasive at first, but not so after a few listens. seems melodramatic at times, sure, but I could feel the man's anguish.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2013



7312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Yeah. His vocals are very easy to get used to.

PuddlesPuddles
August 12th 2013



4765 Comments


good review

Annoying album/guy

Cygnatti
August 12th 2013



21349 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't really know anything about him except this album so I can't say I find anytign about himi annoying.

Acanthus
August 12th 2013



9537 Comments


This is interesting, it definitely carves its own niche.

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greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2013



7312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Yep, for open-minded listeners only.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 12th 2013



9999 Comments


Nice, one of my favorite reviews from ya

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2013



7312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Thanks. Much appreciated. I for one don't know what my best reviews are. It's not easy to evaluate your own work.

YankeeDudel
August 14th 2013



9305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is kinda alright a little

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greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2013



7312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

It's really good, but you have to give it some time.

MrElmo
August 14th 2013



1950 Comments


This definitly seems worth checking, cover makes me want to scratch myself

MrElmo
August 14th 2013



1950 Comments


Really good review too

PuddlesPuddles
August 14th 2013



4765 Comments


He gets points for not being Washed Out, though

Gyromania
August 14th 2013



15199 Comments


Ah yeah. It was odd. ;) I've changed that.

not so much that it was odd as it was untrue. good review though



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