KYLIE AULDIST: Made Of Stone (Label: Tru Thoughts)

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Over the last nine months or so, we’ve been treated to a veritable Aussie soul invasion. First there was the Bamboos, followed by a solo set from Bennson; latterly Cookin’ On Three Burners have enjoyed huge acclaim, and now Australia’s best-kept secret, Kylie Auldist launches her second set. ‘Made Of Stone’ is produced by Lance Ferguson of the Bamboos and that band provide the album’s core musicians. Logically, therefore, you’d expect some blistering down under funk and it comes right at the start with the double-barrel blast of ‘Made Of Stone’ and ‘It’s On’. Both are sparse and hard-edged. The funk’s more muted on ‘I Will’ and there’s a moody blues undertow on the ponderous ‘Kiss And Tell’. But Kylie and her mentors know her voice is hugely versatile – so they offer up all kinds of other flavours to show it off. Most adventurous of those flavours is the tone piece ‘Lefroy (Prelude)’ – a mix of Gregorian Chant and Brian Wilson’s ‘Smile’… clearly deep and meaningful. Lighter altogether are the big Summer sounds of ‘Rosy’, ‘What’s The Cost’ and ‘Kiss and Tell’. The first is a poppy breeze; the second’s a Caribbean romp; the third’s full of warm optimism. Then there’s the modern stab at Motown. Yes, ‘Ship Inside A Bottle’ is pacey and harmonic and rather good, but older soul people know it’s actually nowhere near the real Motown thing. More variety comes with the Latino ‘One Goodbye’ – complete with Herbie Mann style flute, but the LP’s biggest and best soul tune is the least in your face. The totally delightful ‘In A Week In A Day’ insinuates with understatement … and it will insinuate. After a couple of listens, its sass and strut will haunt you (pleasantly) all summer… great track on a great album.
(BB) 4/5