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"Brother moon, sister sun
Darkness and light come from one
No-one can say which is stronger
They both must exist with each other."
You Are Everything is the third installment in a series of collaborations between Australian musicians Steve Kilbey (of Alternative/Indie Rock band The Church) and Martin Kennedy (of Ambient group All India Radio). As with the two previous albums, 2009’s Unseen Music Unheard Words and 2011’s White Magic, Kennedy wrote and recorded the atmospheric music and Kilbey added his hypnotic vocals and evocative lyrics (much like Kilbey’s collaboration with American musician Jeffrey Cain as part of the duo Isidore). Martin Kennedy: “I think the new album is the best of both of the earlier albums. It’s hard to explain, but I think everything that’s good about the first two records is on this one. And I’m really happy with the album, and Steve is, too.” As they should be. You Are Everything is a lush, captivating album that unfolds with every listen, revealing its intricate, interweaving layers of instruments, vocals and sonic atmospherics. It’s this rich soundscape that makes You Are Everything differ from the more minimalistic mix of acoustic and electronic sounds of the first two records.
You Are Everything is off to a great start with the first single, I Wouldn’t Know, a melodic mid-tempo track carried by chiming guitars, ethereal harmonies and subtle touches of synth. According to Kilbey himself, the lyrics deal with The Devil. A complex songwriter whose music and lyrics frequently employ both darkness and light, contrasts and contradictions, Kilbey subsequently addresses God in the next song, Everyone. He doesn’t question God’s existence, but he does question why God would expose so many living beings to so much suffering in this world: “Was this all just a game to you? /…Was this all just a phase for you?” and “I know you’re everywhere, so why do I feel so alone?” Kilbey then sings the line “Hold on, you’re everyone”, repeatedly, as if reminding himself to keep the faith, because God exists in every one of us, regardless of nationality and religion.
The epic Lorelei announces its arrival on a tidal wave of relentless Shoegaze-esque electric guitars that alternately wind down at the end of the verses and pick up again in the choruses, as Kilbey’s wistful vocal and words tell a tale of love, lust, jealousy and rivalry. Knowing You Are In The World works on two levels – as both a declaration of love for another human being and for God, taking comfort in the fact that one of them, or both, is always there to give you strength to overcome the hardships of life. This knowledge, or belief, induces some degree of inner tranquility, beautifully conveyed by the peaceful, languid pace and the dreamy, reverb-drenched acoustic guitars, as well as understated strings and violin.
East Side West Side is the most overtly electronic track on the album, its polished Synth-Pop tastefully adorned with celestial harmonies. The lyrical message is that we, the human race, start wars, hating and killing each other for no apparent reasons, even though the majority of humanity wants the same thing in life, which is to live in peace and harmony. Most of the songs on You Are Everything address subject matters that are related: love and hate, good versus evil, hope and disillusion, cruelty and compassion. And so does Brother Moon Sister Sun – a lovely, introspective ballad about condemnation and forgiveness in which Kilbey sings the poignant lines “Brother moon, sister sun / Darkness and light come from one / No-one can say which is stronger / They both must exist with each other.” As good as the first two records were (and they really were very good), You Are Everything is Kilbey/Kennedy’s most accomplished album yet. Hopefully, we haven’t heard the last of this talented duo's great chemistry.