Benji Kirkpatrick and the Excess – Gold Has Worn Away

Album Review | Westpark Music | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 5/5

Having served as a longtime member of both Bellowhead and Faustus, it came as something of a surprise when in 2015, Benji Kirkpatrick delivered the excellent Hendrix Songs album, which effectively saw the multi-instrumentalist stripping down to basics a dozen of the legendary guitarist’s best loved songs to reveal something very special indeed; great songs with equally great melodies, performed with more than a little TLC.  Four years on and still loaded with musical vigour, the son of folkies John Kirkpatrick and Sue Harris, once again looks towards his more rock oriented roots, this time concentrating on thirteen rock-infused originals.

Opting for the classic power trio format, Kirkpatrick is joined by Pete Flood on drums and Pete Thomas on bass, who between them make for a cohesive driving unit. The songs are unsurprisingly mature with some fine arrangements, fleshed out by the inclusion of just two guest vocalists, Rowan Godel and Janie Mitchell.  The driving “Pinned Down” and “Human Cost” to the stomping “A Classic Cut” are matched measure for measure by the instrumentals, the Eastern-influenced “Stuck in the Loop”, and the complex Maartin Allcock-like grooves of “Got to be all Mine” to the album’s show stopper, the soul-fuelled “In Your Cave.” True to most classic rock albums, there also the obligatory sensitive ‘Tears in Heaven’ moment, in this case the delicate “Back to the Fold”, which is perfectly poised for balance. Gold Has Worn Away shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it does and therefore isn’t going up onto the dusty shelf anytime soon.

Choice Track: “In Your Cave” (NSV 490)