Two-and-a-half years in the making, Eskimo Joe frontman Kav Temperley has unveiled his sophomore solo album, ‘Machines Of Love & Grace’. A product of the past few years spent with a global pandemic at the forefront of our collective minds, it’s an album that shows Temperley‘s iconic power as a songwriter and a storyteller, and further cements his status as one of the country’s most prominent and beloved voices.
“Machines Of Love & Grace started its life in the very first week of COVID,” explains Temperley, who calls the album his most ambitious work to date. “Myself and my wife had just returned from the US and then one day later the whole entire world shut down. At the same time, I also came down with a mystery virus that was too early in the pandemic to test for COVID. So while everyone went into lockdown, I began to isolate myself in my bedroom only talking to my family through a small crack in the bedroom window.”
Beginning to write his new album as a way to deal with the chaos unfolding around him, Temperley slowly started penning tracks that covered the entire spectrum of emotions felt by the world at large throughout this time. “This album is rooted heavily in storytelling, and my hope is that by telling my story, people get their own stories back in return,” Temperley explains.
The result is an album that is as powerful as it is eclectic, and comfortably sits alongside Temperley’s already-impressive discography as one of his most accomplished records so far. In between the soaring choruses and hard-hitting lyricism, Temperley doesn’t stray from the heavy topics, allowing them to serve as the harsh, realistic yin to the idealistic, comforting yang that the record provides. ‘Machines Of Love & Grace’ expertly dives head-first into COVID-related themes, including those of self-isolation (Emergency In D Minor) and anti-vaxxers and the environment (The Fence), before switching focus to more widespread problems such as screen addiction in its title track, and the heart-rending realism of issues caused by alcoholism and domestic violence (Last Of The Wine).
All the while, these almost despairing tracks are paired by an overarching search for a sense of place (Homesickness, Graduation Day), combining to provide a unifying soundtrack that shows while we might have all felt an all-encompassing sense of loneliness throughout these past years, we certainly were not alone in our search for clarity.
Temperley also taps a number of his famous friends for ‘Machines Of Love & Grace’, including Little Birdy’s Katy Steele, who joins in on Graduation Day, and John Butler, who appears in latest single, The Fence. “I first met John properly back in 2001 when he was living on the studio couch where we were working on our first Eskimo Joe album Girl,” remembers Temperley. “He was a familiar face around town; he could often be found busking outside the Fremantle Markets with his dreadlocks and familiar 12-string guitar. Many years and shared festival lineups later we finally sat down to write a song together for the first time, the song was called We Want More and it ended up on his wonderful album ‘Home’.
“So two-and-half-years into the global pandemic, we got together again at his home in the beautiful surrounds of Margaret River,” he adds.“We talked about where our heads were at, all the big decisions we were having to make due to the global pandemic, everything from the environment to the anti-vax movement. That conversation turned into a song called The Fence and where we ended up is that there is no room to sit on the fence.”
Ultimately, ‘Machines Of Love & Grace’ arrives as an album that Temperley himself describes as being much less considered, and more of an organic, almost reactionary composition that captures his own musical truth that resulted from these past few years. “With my first solo album, All Your Devotion, I was really searching for who I was as an artist outside of Eskimo Joe,” Temperley explains. “I dug deep into my musical influences such as singer-songwriters from the early ‘70s like Neil Young and Van Morrison. However with this album there was less time to analyse what kind of record I was trying to make, because I was head-down, having to do everything myself. By necessity most of the album was written and recorded in my little studio in Fremantle, but the result is a much more organic rock’n’roll album that relies heavily on storytelling.”
To promote the release of ‘Machines Of Love & Grace’, Temperley will be hitting the road for a solo tour in February to play cuts from the record in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. Venues, show details and ticket details will be announced on Tuesday 25 October at www.kavtemperley.com.au.
Machines Of Love & Grace is out now – LISTEN HERE
Connect with KAV TEMPERLEY
With thanks to On The Map PR