26 September 2023

Monument City Lights, 1973

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Kate Ceberano, Steve Kilbey, & Sean Sennett, Universal Music Australia 2019.

For 12 months there has been a murmur through the music industry about a unique collaboration that was taking place between Kate Ceberano, Steve Kilbey, and Sean Sennett.

It seems that the trio have been working on an as-yet-unnamed album and Monument City Lights, 1973 is their first single release.

If this track is anything to go by the album should be a cracker.

Monument City Lights, 1973 recalls the feel of David Bowie’s Berlin years.

The track was recorded between studios in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The song is driven forward by a classic Kilbey bass line and Sennett’s overlay of chiming guitars with Ceberano and Kilbey trading lead vocal lines. “Your bee sting lips, your glamorous friend, your lost weekend”

The track began life with Sennett and Kilbey writing together in a cramped beachside apartment before Ceberano added her songwriting talent.

She comments: “there’s something dramatic and potent in this poem… a nostalgic reverie. The mood had to be the 70s… it’s tight jeans, bad skin and kissing in dark places. An indelible tattoo on the psyche. I hope it reminds you of these things and more…”

Monument City Lights, 1973 was produced by Kate Ceberano and Rodrigo Bustos.

Kate and Sean go back a long way – in fact Kate first asked Sean to write with her in the late 1990s.

Fast forward to 2017 and the pair reconnected to quietly begin work on a new collection of original songs.

It was Sean who asked Steve to supply a lyric for a song to be called All Tied Up for a collection he was producing that featured female singers from Brisbane that eventually brought all three together.

Sean passed the lyric to Kate who brought her songwriting smarts and melodic magic to it and, hey presto, a new song came into being and a new band was formed.

Interestingly, Kate and Steve Kilbey never met for the entirety of the recording process on Monument City Lights, 1973.

When the opportunity did arise they wisely avoided it with the aim of keeping the creative spark that was occurring unblemished.

I’m eagerly awaiting the album.

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