Brad, Hollywood 09/01/2013
Kirin J is the Australian version of Xiu Xiu. A sort of over-the-top emotionally overdone vocal style over a sort of experimental use of instruments and electronics. But it somehow works… way ahead of its time and current all at the same time.
Kirin J. Callinan’s music defies easy explanation. It’s hard and corrosive, full of distorted guitars and grinding beats, while his serrated voice consistently sounds on the verge of collapse, on songs like the title track, with lyrics that fuck with gender, sexuality and social norms (“"A man can meet another man in a bar/On the sportsfield/At his place of work/Or in his own apartment/Or on the Internet right now!” he explains in a hilarious verse). It’s also full of towering beauty, as his voice reins in the terror but none of the drama for the glorious “Victoria M.” The Australian native is the rare, charismatic singer/songwriter who can keep us enthralled whether he glowering or swooning, like his Aussie forefather, Nick Cave. While his attempts at more global social commentary don’t always work — “Come On USA’s” jabs are a little hokey, despite the music’s fury, and “Way II War” is effective more for its extremely creepy atmospherics — his personal freakouts are always compelling, as “Love Delay’s” sexual outcry and hairpin turn halfway through will attest. The freewheeling Embracism loudly announces the arrival of a new, singular talent to watch — with any luck, Kirin J. Callinan is just getting fired up.