Album Review | David Kitt Takes An Extraterrestrial Journey On Idiot Check
David Kitt is standing near the water. Behind him, the Skellig Islands are looming in all their austere glory. His face is peaceful and his eyes are closed. He’s wearing a homemade tricorn hat. It might be made of tinfoil. This image is the cover of Kitt’s ninth studio album Idiot Check, and it’s where our journey begins.
Just out of shot there is a vessel. A mode of transportation. That’s why Kitt is wearing his captain’s hat. In recent interviews, Kitt has referenced the “Breaking Bad mobile studio set-up” in which the album was recorded. But I’m not picturing a camper van. It’s more like a spaceship.
We get on board with Kitt, and the album begins. ‘Every Little Drop’ and ‘Not So Soon’ are earthy and rhythmic, and they get us settled into the ride, but there are signs that we won’t be on solid ground for long. Some fuzzy guitar lines. Katie Kim’s supporting vocals aren’t delicate enough to be described as ‘ethereal’. They could be a warning.
As ‘Wishing Well’ starts, we hear a sound like a synthetic train whistle. It is the sound of Kitt’s vessel taking off, clearing the Dingle Lighthouse and heading into the starry night sky. Kitt has said that the song is about “being on the run from memories”, and maybe he’s ruminating on some of these memories as the song ends and the vessel brings us east, flying over Dublin and heading further into the atmosphere.
By the time we arrive at the next track, ‘All Folly’, we realise that we’ve somehow ended up very far away from land. Maybe we’re in deep space. The song is like a vaporwave sean nós lament. The midpoint of the journey, ‘It’s In Some Of Us’ and ‘Leave Me Making’, is the sound of the vessel finding a new planet to briefly explore. Maybe it’s actually Paris, where Kitt wrote some of these songs.
Rhythm returns. Acoustic merges with electric. Katie Kim is back, sounding great. Synths shimmer. But what’s that? A tinge of homesickness? ‘Wexford Strawberries’ has Kitt singing wistfully about ‘me and my baby and the tall trees’. So he fixes his hat, grabs the steering wheel, and alters course again.
We get briefly lost on the way home, but fortunately even getting lost in space sounds great when Kitt is at the helm, in the luxurious ambience of ‘Till The End’. ‘Balances’ brings us back to earth. We recognize the drums and the folky vibe.
We have returned and in case we were in any doubt that it’s good to be back, ‘Waves Of Peace’ brings our voyage to a close with a slice of surf-pop that feels like home. Those are real drums and guitars and we’ve left the synths behind, for now. The door of the vessel whooshes open.
Kitt steps out, back onto the stony shore of Dingle. The Skelligs greet him. He closes his eyes and breathes in. He is satisfied with the journey, and you will be too.