Good music paints pictures with sound. Great music conjures scenes from imaginary stories. Then there is music such as is found in this collection of songs that seems to spring to life like a soundtrack to a movie yet to be made. For although the songs themselves may not have been necessarily written to sit together as a finished album, there is none the less a over-riding feeling, a inherent aura to the music which supplies the required cohesion.
It is an aura woven from plaintive emotions, hints of melancholy, a dark and dramatic tone, an epic feeling but one that deals in bristling restraint rather and subtle underplay rather than howling dynamics and taking the more obvious route of swagger and bluster. And whilst the core of the music is firmly based in a rock sound, one that can certainly play the anthemic card when required, it is the other elements that are strung through the music which add the important detail and diversity.
At one extreme I’ll Fly Away plays with pop melody to temper the savage beast, whilst Stirring Gently sits at the crossroads of brooding rock and deft neo-classicalism, mournfully strings and chiming acoustica set the tone of Mother and there is even room for some more experimental musical manoeuvres on Puzzles, a strange encounter by anyone’s standards.
But for the most part it is the dark and subtle choices that define this collection, which feels slightly enthused with gothic romanticism though thankfully with out the usual theatrics and driven by familiar rock sounds but again without resorting to clichés and overly complex showboating. Every note counts, every chord seems considered, every beat necessary.
So what of the film that is conjured in your mind as this plays? Well, I’m sure it will be different to each listener but the film I see is one of dramatic vistas, colliding oceans and the very destruction of worlds. Why pay to see a film when you can just buy such a soundtrack and let your imagination fill in the gaps?