- Until You See the Sun
- Says a Tender Mind
- Building a Robot
- The Sultan of Brunei
- After the Healing
- When Howie Dressed Me Down
- The Professor
- I’ve Been Thinking
- Saying Goodbye
- The Libertarian
About the Album
To create the new album by Kicklighter, founder and principal member Everett Young did not just “borrow” from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. He pretty much boarded a time machine and dwelled there.
“My concept was to create an album that literally could have been recorded in 1985, 1989, maybe 1991, and could have been one of the great records of its time, but was lost to time and only just now re-discovered in a vault somewhere,” says Everett, a 45-year-old PhD-holding political psychologist who took up guitar at 41 and plays all the guitar and keyboards on the album.
The Fascinating Thinking Machine is full of introspective, philosophical, sometimes funny, always emotionally-engaging lyrics, exploring mature themes such as aging, and how the limited and disjointed nature of the human mind create a human condition that’s forever mysterious to those who experience it.
Its melodies are simultaneously catchy and sophisticated, its rhythms often driving, even stealthily funky—a holdover from Everett’s adolescent musical addictions to Earth, Wind and Fire and the Commodores. “My goal is to create a sophisticated, gourmet musical experience that you’ll still be discovering on the 50th listen,” Everett says, “but I still look for really catchy melodies. I don’t think catchy is synonymous with just repeating a mindless 2-note phrase over and over. You can get longer melodies with real development and arc to be serious earworms—it’s just not easy to do it, and modern songwriters seem less interested in it. Maybe I want to be the John Williams of pop music?” says Everett.
New Wave fans will be instantly attracted to the uptempo pieces. Several mellower pieces are more defiant of categorization, but are hauntingly gorgeous.
The album represents a coming-out party for Everett as a guitarist after playing piano for most of his life. Actually, it was an entire personal transformation that Everett wasn’t sure was even possible. “I’ve dabbled in guitar a few times in my life—each time for about two weeks before realizing, holy cow, this is going to take too long, and then giving up. I had long concluded, with a good deal of disappointment and jealousy of others, that playing guitar was not ever going to happen for me. Then, about four years ago when it started to look like my academic career was not on the most rocketlike trajectory, I decided I’d take one last run at it. I was still a beginner, but this time, something clicked, and here I am. I still almost have to pinch myself. I can actually play that weird thing.”
The album is produced by Everett’s longtime friend, bassist Tim DeLaney. The two played together in a high school jazz band and have worked together on numerous projects through the years. Says Everett, “I kind of got Tim into the world of recording. I showed him Pro Tools. Then I went to graduate school and Tim went and became a far better producer and recordist than I ever was. Coming back to music after academics, I knew I wanted a producer, and I knew who it had to be.” DeLaney is an in-demand bassist in Atlanta and called on some of Atlanta’s top players to perform on The Fascinating Thinking Machine, making for an album populated by real, recorded musicians. “There’s pretty much zero canned, in-the-box stuff,” says Everett. “The album sounds how it sounds because the people who worked on it have been doing this for a while. Oh, and also because we are middle-aged musicians who refuse to let go of our love of aging British intelligent pop stars like Sting, Peter Gabriel and Tears for Fears.”