But after more than 20 solo albums and nearly 30 albums with The Church, he remains an intriguing character. He moved to Australia when he was just five, but still has an English accent. Kilbey’s new solo album is a love letter of sorts to Sydney, celebrating both its beauty and its dark side. “The lonely city does not sleep or keep her promises to you,” he sings.
Some of Kilbey’s solo work has been a little out-there, but Sydney Rococo is a thrillingly accessible collection of shimmering pop-rock gems. Check out When I Love Her She Sings, an instant Kilbey classic. Sydney Rococo also showcases what a fine singer Kilbey is. Indeed, he could be one of our most underrated vocalists. His voice is an instrument that creates an atmosphere on its own, with genuine presence – a voice so distinctive that as soon as you hear it, you know it’s Kilbey.
And even when he’s telling dark tales, it’s an instrument of beauty: “The lonely city makes me smile.”
Sydney Rococo is out now via Golden Robot Records.