If debut release “Being Ragdolllian” pitched George as a whimsical, acoustic troubadour, Lunatic takes everything that was great in the first place and wraps it up in a soundscape that runs between the delicate and the devastating, the gentle and the gigantic. But any fears that the studio has swamped his core qualities quickly vanish, the same wit and wisdom, bohemian lyrical poise and dexterous musical structures are still much in evidence. But all of those characteristics that we have come to know and love now have a fantastic musical platform to launch from.
There is a moment during opener “One More Time For Me, Sweetheart” as the dynamic builds and the anticipation of the impending chorus can be felt in all of the places music has no business toying with, that you realise that this is George and his music coming of age. Not satisfied with a gentle lift the chorus goes into the stratosphere, Kerouac’ s fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars. It’s big… by god is it big! And such a literary reference is quite apt when talking about his music, or more specifically the lyrics, as here we find him revelling in the same juxtapositions of the poetic and the mundane, normal relationships become mythical tales and people the stuff of small town, legend. But at the centre of it all is the pen of someone wholly self-deprecating, happy to take the fall or play the fool. Nice guys might finish last but some do so with a bag of great songs to show for it.
I always believed in the quality of his songs but what is breath taking now is how they are packaged. “Tchaikovsky On The Tambourine” is now driven on with just the right amount of jaunty folk rhythms, “What’s Wrong With Baby Blue?” channels a Jeff Buckley vibe and “Martha” is wrapped in the warm embrace of Gilmore-esque guitars. These are no longer mere tunes, they are soundscapes, sky-scraping and soaring thanks to the musicianship, influence of and production by The Rowe Brothers at the Lighterthief underground musical bunker.
It seems like George Wilding is now the full package, the eloquence of the lyrics now matched by the elegance of the production, the heart and soul of the songs now taken to their illogical conclusions by the musical bed they are served up on. And that voice…sincere, committed and where necessary stop-you-in-your-tracks intense.
When I first wrote about “Being Ragdollian” I predicted George had a great career ahead of him, but I don’t think anyone quite expected this!