Ah, summer’s lease is nearly at an end here in New Zealand, and already with the mornings growing darker and the breeze cooling by the day the early sun-bleached weeks of 2015 are becoming a memory. We’ve not had a lot of rainfall over the country – worryingly little, in fact, with several areas including North Otago and South Canterbury (locations of the Simian ancestral pile) declared drought zones – so the image of your New Zealand summer and its blue sparkling waters and blessed friendly sun seem a little far removed at present. Let’s get them back for a bit – all the way from 1992.
David Kilgour’s solo debut was an album remarkable for its lateness. For the best part of the previous decade Kilgour had spent his career alternately providing signature riffs and hooks for The Clean, The Great Unwashed and latterly his own trio Stephen. By the late 80s he was a quiet member of the alternative music establishment, while the reunion and resurgence of The Clean with brother Hamish and Robert Scott providing a new lease of life and to my generation of students at least, a new generation audience. When it arrived Here Come the Cars with its faux-Dylan cover portrait was like the proverbial beam of golden sun, jangly, poppy, melodic and upbeat.
David Kilgour’s part in The Clean was always the most significant to me, his guitar riding over sometimes weedy vocals or leaden one-two drum falls, the eccentric dancer in a very Dunedin drunken reel. I adore the Clean, but Kilgour’s solo showing in Cars, as well as the likes of Sugarmouth and The Far Now broaden his talents even farther, with some lovely piano and sensitive production pushing his more melodic songs further forward. For a while it seemed Flying Nun finally had its first real solo star, and 'You Forget' is probably when Kilgour shone brightest. It's one of my favourite summer songs, from one of my favourite guitarists, and it takes me immediately back to the summer of 1992 and 1993, which was a very good summer indeed.
Here he is, with surfer car, a sparkling Auckland Harbour and Rangitoto, and an enviable collection of colourful footwear, to send summer on its way.