There’s always been an element of the ephemeral in David Kitt’s music. An emphasis placed on the beauty of the moment over any other aspect of the music.
While the multi-instrumentalist is a tried and tested musician and song writer, virtuosity is not the currency which Kitt’s music deals in. Instead the artist hones in on a feeling, circling and circling until grabbing a hold of it. Once in that pocket Kitt tends to let the feeling dictate the pace and flow of the song, eventually ebbing into silence. Examples of this can be seen throughout his oeuvre, from the repeated hook in Into The Breeze to the throbbing synth line in Learning To Say Goodbye. On his new album ‘Yous’, Kitt seems to have struck up the perfect relationship with the ethereal. Here, feeling and form coexist happily.
‘Yous’ is David Kitt’s sixth studio album, the first since 2009’s ‘The Nightsaver’, which, despite being considered by many to be the artist’s magnum opus, failed to land much commercial success. Judging by the gap between that album and his new one, it’s fair to say that the artist probably needed some time away from the industry.
In the interim Kitt began performing under the name New Jackson. That project saw the artist performing dance music, elements of which have always been present in Kitt’s material, specifically in the overtly electronic ‘The Nightsaver’.
The album is released under the supervision of All City Records. For fans who discovered Kitt during the New Jackson era, the earthy minimalism of ‘Yous’ may come as a shock. The album is primarily acoustic, with the guitar and violin taking centre stage in the mix.
Electronic additions are generally kept to the drum machine percussion throughout the album. For long time fans, this return to his singer-songwriter roots will be welcome. It’s a sound that compliments the artist’s song writing and vocal delivery superbly.
The ten songs on ‘Yous’ are a collection of old and new. Some have been featured on Kitt’s live sets for years. However, they have all been curated carefully, the disparity in time between the songs creation doesn’t result in a disparity in tone. Instead, the entirety of the album feels like a thoughtful whole. Each song an addition of colour to the mural ‘Yous’ paints.
The album is not overtly conceptual, as some of his previous albums have been. Instead, the narrative which it presents is more personal. The album finds the artist looking inwards, at life and the people and places that fill it. The songs directed toward his romantic partner speak for themselves, examples include There Will Always Be This Love and Still Don’t Know. These songs are affectionate and warm. The melancholy which his haunted his previous works has been largely dispelled and these tracks instead show an artist celebrating the seemingly rich love in his life.
Other tracks prove more enigmatic. The otherworldly Keep The Streets Empty For Me, an absolute album and career highlight, seems directed toward Dublin itself. When he half whispers “I will never disappear, For forever I’ll be here”, it seems Kitt is acknowledging the importance of the place which has played host to entirety of his career, both the ups and downs. The backing vocals from Margie Jean Lewis, who also plays violin throughout the album, steal the show, reaching high while Kitt’s voice stays low on the refrain.
‘Yous’ is a superb return from Kitt. It’s the sound of a fully matured artist, one who’s delved and experimented with many sounds and retained the best parts from them all. It’s the lyrical idiom of a man who has overcome many of life’s great obstacles. Kitt’s music has always been about human emotion, love, elation and heartbreak. On ‘Yous’, Kitt seems to have found some perspective on them all.