Kirk Van Praag

Record Review

Texas Platters

Kirk Van Praag

The Wrest (Super Secret) Kirk Van Praag is a lyricist, employing a Dylanesque song-speak throughout his 2-CD debut. That The Wrest is on Austin punk rock imprint Super Secret doesn't mean Van Praag is punk. He's an amalgamation of workingman blues, broken-hearted balladry, and manic anthems trapped in the constraints of a four-four rhythm and acoustic guitar just dying to be read off the music stands of violinists and played on a baby grand. Equal parts Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and Randy Newman, Van Praag aptly demonstrates his talent for forging a beautiful song. Unfortunately, his singing and musicianship appear rather negligible, merely an avenue down which his words travel. "Where It Went" and "Potluck" ("Last supper is potluck, and you didn't bring a thing") exemplify Van Praag's understanding of religion and relationship. Both "Takes One" and "Fall From Grace" ("The gate looks open, so why are we climbing the walls?") are begging for more than a one-chord progression. What seems like years' worth of writing is all but obfuscated by the length and monotony of The Wrest. Van Praag's words deserve symphonic praise, as well as symphonic backing. Complexity can be the savior of poetry.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Darcie Stevens
Phases & Stages
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
It's Blitz! (Record Review)

April 3, 2009

Spotlight: The Wooden Birds
Spotlight: The Wooden Birds
9pm, the Parish

March 20, 2009

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle