Still only in his early 30s, Kyle Falconer has lived enough for three lifetimes. Shooting to mercurial fame with The View while scarcely out of his teens, there was always more to this indie frontman than met the eye. With a near-catholic taste in music – from vintage soul to pop, indie rock to classic songwriting – he’s been able to keep the Dundee band going through time and tide, continually veering past obstacles in their way.
His own life, however, hasn’t always been so easy to navigate. His second solo LP, ‘No Love Songs For Laura’ deals with addiction and redemption, fatherhood and loss; in many ways his most revealing statement to date, it deals with profound shifts in his life by turning towards music, a continual fascination with the craft.
As a result, ‘No Love Songs For Laura’ is pleasingly broad. ‘Stress Ball’ channels his passion for 60s R&B, a punchy track that contains traces of Mod icons the Small Faces – it’s fun, too, the sound of a beleaguered soul cutting loose and tapping back in to some of his formative influences. The slinky ‘Wait Around’ has a disco feel to it, illustrating some of the carefree studio experimentation which took place in the Libertines-owned Margate studio.
Yet it’s also a highly revealing record. Sort of title song ‘Laura’ deals with Kyle’s experiences in rehab, and hints at the steadying factor fatherhood has given his life. Conversely, ‘Mother’ deals with loss; Kyle’s mother died when he was only 21, and this frank piece of songwriting has a heartbreaking sense of child-like innocence to it.
With Kyle and producer Frankie Sigarusa playing every instrument themselves, there’s a joyous sense of experimentation at play here. As a result, though, not everything lands – ‘Rake It In’ is perhaps a little on the glossy side, for example, and lacks the indie bite that made The View’s debut album such a defining moment for the band.
But perhaps that’s churlish. Kyle Falconer has found a sense of balance in his life, and – perhaps – a little happiness, too. God knows he’s earned it.
Words: Robin Murray
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