Spring and Fall
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Australia’s most acclaimed singer/songwriter has gone five years without a new studio release, so this short but sweet set—his 19th!- arrives with a fair degree of built-in anticipation. Kelly, perhaps inspired by his work as a book author during his time off from songwriting, has crafted an acoustic song cycle about the beginning and end of a relationship. The tunes are compact, lovely and move the story forward from the first person perspective of the protagonist, but the lack of upbeat material, and a rhythm section, leaves this as a noble but somewhat bland experiment far removed from the crackling folk rock of Kelly’s earlier days. He’s in fine voice and as usual his lyrics about love, loss, aging and regret are bittersweet without being sappy or cloying – not an easy trick. Kelly is a tenured veteran songsmith who creates melodies, if perhaps not hooky ones here, that grow on you like kudzu, intentionally creating an album that is greater than the sum of its parts.