Kirt Debique - Things Left Unsaid (Brick Lane Records)

Kirt Debique – Things Left Unsaid (Brick Lane Records)

KirtLEI’m ashamed to say that I took one glance at the album sleeve here, and instantly had it pegged as either a hard-hitting rap album, or the kind of creative hip-hop/chillout typified by the likes of DJ Shadow; It’s neither.

What I most certainly did not expect was for it to have the same gritty industrial clout as, say, Gary Numan‘s latter years, or perhaps even Nine Inch Nails.  And what’s more, it really is rather splendid.

Like a lower voiced Antony Hegarty, Kirt Debique‘s arrangements are dense and stirring, and you can tell that these songs are deeply personal and close to the heart of their composer. Perhaps most strikingly, much of ‘Things Left Unsaid‘ makes rather off-kilter toasts to the hits of the eighties, and I am unsure whether this is intentional or not.

The curious, haunting ‘Another Time‘ is a case in point, beginning with a keyboard motif that is like a slowed down version of the “When I give my heart again/I know it’s gonna last forever” segment of Rod Stewart‘s 1983 UK chart topper ‘Baby Jane‘, whereas the Pet Shop Boys-like ‘Promise‘ seems to borrow the piano hook from Bronski Beat‘s ‘Smalltown Boy‘. All interesting little cul-de-sacs for sure, but this is music from a much darker mindset. Not for nothing does ‘Tell Me How You Know‘ sound like a torch ballad from the classic Leonard Cohen Songbook.  The depth of each number here is quite remarkable. Brutally bleak and unrelenting in both its musical and lyrical content, yet somehow Debique manages to give the album an unexpectedly uplifting nuance.

A concept album, for want of a better word, in two acts, ‘Things Left Unsaid‘, according to Kirt’s sleevenotes was “created as a book of letters on love, family and loss, reflecting on the past to shine a light on the future“. The first half is subtitled Love X Family and informs us that “the dark side of romanticism has led me down some terrible rabbit holes. I am afraid of being alone, and fear is a mind killer“. Don’t let this fool you into thinking any of this is pretentious twaddle, though – it all makes perfect sense when you read the lyrics while listening, and is imbued with an honesty and openness rarely achieved on wax these days.

All this waffle, and I’ve barely even touched on the tremendous, dramatic soul-baring on the likes of ‘Dear Mother‘ or the palpable melancholy of ‘Another Time‘. The truth is, yes, Debique’s music can be solemn, yes it can be morose, and yes, it can even be unnerving and uncomfortable, but if you can find another album from this year stuffed with as much overwhelming love, you’re a better man than I am.



God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.