The general ethereality, transcendence, and depth of James Leyland Kirby’s oeuvre almost makes you wonder if his decision to sporadically assume The Stranger moniker has a certain literary, and thus, intellectual inspiration — specifically, from a certain French author who contributed mightily to a philosophy that says, in short, “Just like, live your life, man.” But just as soon as I had accepted this as the likely reference and nodded approvingly in my own head (omg, potential BFFs with mutual The Stranger appreciation), I delved into the interview that Kirby did with us a couple of years ago, in which he states, “I chose the name years ago after watching the Spaghetti Western High Plains Drifter. The main character is The Stranger, avenging all wrongs but never revealing his identity to people, just passing through with a hidden agenda.” Possibly cooler than what I had in mind, though not necessarily expected, speaking for myself.
And speaking of belying expectations, Kirby isn’t really doing that, because he alluded to it in the interview. But given the recent focus on his eponymous and Caretaker projects, consider it a disruption of pattern that he’s announced Watching Dead Empires in Decay, a new album as The Stranger, due out October 29 on Modern Love. His previous album under the name was 2008’s Bleaklow.
Meanwhile, Modern Love, the preeminent home of the similarly accomplished Andy Stott and Demdike Stare, might seem like a questionable sponsor, but the track below should allay any skepticism. You can actually tap your foot to this, but it’d be more fitting with the mood if your foot was a deformed, black-and-puke-green mass, and every time you tapped a bevy of spiders crawled out of your heel.
Watching Dead Empires in Decay tracklisting:
01. We Are Enemies But Not Here
02. So Pale It Shone in the Night
03. Spiral of Decline
04. We Scarcely See Sunlight
05. Providence or Fate
06. Where Are Our Monsters Now, Where Are Our Friends?
07. Grey Day Drift
08. Ill Fares the Land
09. About to Enter a Strange New Period
• Leyland Kirby: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Leyland-Kirby/100602723328107
• Modern Love: http://www.modern-love.co.uk