#2 – STEVEN PADIN – OUT OF THE SILENT NEST [spotify]

(feat. track – “Down Under And Out” [spotify])

When I included Steven Padin’s “Two Little Lovebirds” on one of our PropertyOfZack Staff Playlists, I had this to say about Out Of The Silent Nest:

The Reign Of Kindo’s drummer steps out from behind the kit, playing every instrument on his shockingly wonderful debut solo album Out Of The Silent Nest. Supplementing Kindo’s jazz-rock influences with a heavy dose of Revolver-era Beatles, Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys and a dash of bossa nova and tropicalia, Padin’s penchant for complex, whimsical composition and unexpected chord changes never overwhelms a collection of songs which, at their core, remain beautifully simple.

I’ve long been a fan of The Reign Of Kindo (who made my Top Ten in 2010), and Padin’s inventive stickwork is a crucial component of their sound, but his skill as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist here are real revelations. His melodies never take the predictable path from point A to point B; the unusual progressions feel purposeful, not noodly, and always resolve beautifully, but there’s real magic in how they get to that resolution.

The recordings on Out Of The Silent Nest generally come in two varieties: gently lilting acoustic Gilberto-esque balladry, full of bright melodies that couch inner turmoil, doubt and melancholia; and more fleshed out, darker-toned rockers that brood rather than rage. The alternating effect makes for a balanced, easy listen despite the heavy content.

At Out Of The Silent Nest’s center is a cover of “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)”, and while I won’t say it matches the transcendent beauty of the Beach Boys’Pet Sounds masterpiece, it succeeds in capturing the shadows – the fear of fucking up, the certainty of collapse – hiding inside the song’s moony placidity. It’s a gutsy move, taking a hack at a song which’s initial recording is so undeniably unimpeachable, but for Padin it’s also a necessary one: the track serves as a signpost to the emotional heart of the originals which make up the remainder of the album – the Wilsonesque paean to love in all its tenuousness.

And ultimately, it’s that emotional aptitude that’s made Out Of The Silent Nest such a compelling listen for me this year; the sonics may have drawn me in, but it’s Padin’s clear-eyed grasp of complexity that keeps me coming back.