"Hold Your Breath" opens like an Of Montreal or Yeasayer tune, with a cacophonous indie melody and a chorus of vocals, before settling down into what might actually be the most pop tune on the record, with the requisite sentiment: "All we'll have is all we'll ever need." And "Martha" is the true ode, with a distorted keyboard tone contrasted with an ice-pick clean electric guitar: "Martha please don't leave me/I can't afford to be alone/This far from home."

Funnily enough, the guitar solo of sorts in the bridge here reminds of Steely Dan's "Reeling in the Years," and it's as though Kilpatrick is offering this record up as a demarcation. After this, he shall disavow all those childish things. He's setting up shop. He's through looking backward and has his sights set straight ahead with all of his burdens right up there on his back, a load he's eager to carry.

He's living, just like the track he opens the record with, the "American Dream." He's wise enough to intuit the answer when he asks, "Does anybody hear the words I say as I fall down?" No. You're on your own, kid. You've got it right when you notice later that "we're all falling down." And it sure is nice when we find someone who can pick us back up.

Sam Pfeifle can be reached at sam_pfeifle@yahoo.com.

HEAVY FIRE | Released by the Pete Kilpatrick Band | at the Big Easy, in Portland | March 23 |  petekilpatrickband.com

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