Kylie Auldist possesses the kind of powerful yet nuanced soul voice that comes along only once in a while, and when you’ve heard it once you never quite forget it. On her second album, ‘Made Of Stone’, the Australian singer has again enlisted the production skills of Tru Thoughts label-mate Lance Ferguson (Lanu Bamboos”:http://www.tru-thoughts.co.uk/artists/the-bamboos ).
As on her 2008 debut ‘Just Say’ – which was picked up on by tastemakers including Mark Lamarr (Radio 2), who labelled it one of his albums of the year – Kylie is backed on this album by Australian kings of funk, The Bamboos, with whom she has been recording and touring since before she launched her solo career, and who are often compared to Sharon Jones’ Dap Kings as one of the world’s best deep funk bands. With The Bamboos, Kylie recorded live radio sessions last year for Mark Lamarr’s God’s Jukebox on Radio 2, and the 6Music Funk & Soul Show. Recent major live shows across Australia have included a double header with Syl Johnson in Melbourne; showing the dance kids at the DJ-heavy Park Life dates in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne that you can still dance to real live instrumentals; and playing alongside Ben Harper at the Byron Bay Blues Fest, after which the festival director wrote personally to say how impressed he was with them.
‘Made of Stone’ kicks off with a familiarly fiery funk number in the shape of the title track, sung ostensibly by the steely side of Kylie – a born singer who, growing up in an Outback one-horse town, made it her mission to take on the bright lights of Melbourne and all that stood in her way. A few tracks in though, and you’ll see a gear change that finds Kylie and the band in a more mellifluous, reflective soul mode, where the perfectly-crafted and songs range from knowingly articulated tales of life and love along universal themes, such as “Lookin’ For You”, to the more complex internal web of experience that informs “I Will”, written for her two sons, and the closing track, which is a dedication to a dearly missed member of a close-knit family.
Many songs on this album are reminiscent in their instant appeal and charm to the crossover style that The Bamboos coined so successfully with that cover of Kings Of Leon’s “King Of The Rodeo” last year, a release that cemented them in the consciousness of the mainstream crowd and gained heavy support on XFM, 6Music and playlisting on BBC London, as well as an international thumbs-up from indie kids and soul fans alike.