Cory Kilduff works within longing and heartbreak on his Burning Witches Records debut When it All Gets to be Too Much. Pulling inspiration from the coming-of-age films Molly Ringwald made with John Hughes, as well as Paul Haslinger’s work in Halt and Catch Fire and Tangerine Dream’s score for Risky Business, Kilduff makes a nostalgic and wistful record filled with synth-heavy songs for those moments when the weight of the world is nearly too much to bear.
When I first heard Cory Kilduff’s work it was on Burning Witches Records Record Store Day 2018 compilation Communion. His track, the brooding and dark “LV426” was a small piece of a bigger project. One in which he re-scored Ridley Scott’s Alien. On his debut for BWR there’s still plenty of brooding, but more in the teen angst and high school emotional heaviness brooding. First loves and first breakups kind of emotional gnarliness. You know, when it all gets to be too much.
Cory Kilduff’s debut plays out like an emotional rollercoaster. “Jericho’s Opening” starts things as if you’re walking thru the front gate courtyards of some typical suburban high school. Walking in slow motion with a backpack slagged across your shoulder, the faces of fellow lost souls passing by and occasionally glancing at the sadsack you know yourself to be. Welcome to the school of hard luck. “Not Like The Others” blows in on a beautifully cascading synth line, part Ulrich Schnauss and part 80s Edgar Froese. You can almost see that slow camera shot that focuses in on the girl of your dreams sitting alone across the cafeteria, drinking an apple juice and reading Sylvia Plath.
When it All Gets to be Too Much runs the gamut of moody inspiration, from heavy-hearted sighs like “False Alarm” and “Chestnut Hills” to more brooding, dense fare like “Portacarrero” and “16 Seconds”. One of the most ear-catching tracks is the Gothic and mournful “Higher Education”. It opens with a church organ blaring with almost Phantom of the Opera flair, but then builds on mournful synth. It’s quite a stunning and overwhelming piece.
Cory Kilduff’s debut album is one we can all relate to. Heavy-hearted electronic music built for staring off into the distance and wondering if things will ever be okay again. We’ve all been there. You might be there right now. When it All Gets to be Too Much is here for you. –J. Hubner
When it All Gets to be Too Much is out now on Burning Witches Records.
8.2 out of 10