Tim Muddiman and The Strange - Wildwood Stone
Info: Over the last 18 months Tim Muddiman has released, written and produced a vast amount of work. Tim and his band have regularly impressed publications in The UK, USA, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Mexico, Ireland and Belgium as well as having worldwide radio play and also support from BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6. Now, the Gary Numan and Pop Will Eat Itself guitarist is on the cusp of releasing his debut solo album, Paradise Runs Deeper, which is out on the 9th of September.
Paradise Runs Deeper is a deeply crafted album with songs of survival and healing. Big blues guitar riffs and sometimes dark modern grooves and modern production have brought this album to have its own unique sound and character.
You can read all you like about a musician online or in print, but nothing gives insight more than a conversation with them, which was something that struck me in an interview with Tim Muddiman at the start of this year, and that's what it felt like, a conversation. Muddiman is philosophical about music, it's more than something that you just create and share with people, it's an entity that must have meaning, even if only on the most superficial level, there has to be something tangible that you can grab with both hands, digest, and ponder. Tim spoke at length about where modern music came from, its origins, and where it may be headed, for better or worse. In a sense this line of thought runs through Paradise Runs Deeper, mostly on a musical level where delicate respect is given to the past, whilst boldly embracing not current, but future sounds. Sometimes it's difficult to see music revolving around the humble guitar as part of 'the future', in a world of clicks and beats and a (wonderfully) ever-expanding plateau of genres and sub-genres, but it's not going anywhere any time soon.
Paradise Runs Deeper Album Cover
The opening 30 seconds of first track 'Bullet Stroke' ping from defiant rock guitar riff to electro sounds and back again, you already know what to expect, but it's not going to turn out as straight-forward as that. Without delay the blues-rock end of proceedings is cranked up on 'Rolling Stones', which has gradually become my own favourite track on the album. Thick bass and a dark hue which surrounds much of the album, and is also visually reflected in the track's video (below), the main riff is prodding, under your skin like a thin steel hook, this is not a complaint, but a reflection of impact.
Tim Muddiman and The Strange - Rolling Stones
This approach continues and is heightened on latest single, 'Glass Queen', which feels like the track on the album where Muddiman and band flung the kitchen sink full force against the wall. Deep, lush bass-lines and harmony effects surround shimmering guitar progressions and a lead guitar that wouldn't be out of place anywhere in between Metallica and The White Stripes. 'Damage Is Done' and the wonderful 'Hands & Claws' provide pause for thought from the album's blustering opening.
Previous single, 'Wildwood Stone' (top video) comes next, a stripped down presentation of Tim Muddiman & The Strange in some ways, an almost stoner-rock number which reaches up towards anthemic heights but pulls back just at the right time to stay true to the albums school. The trademark prominent and wholesome rock guitar, which is at the forefront for much of Paradise Runs Deeper, has one of its finest outings on 'Slide Away', rarely has a hard rock track sounded so whimsical and nonchalant.
Tim Muddiman and The Strange - Glass Queen
One of the atmospheric peaks comes via 'Your Drugs', reverberating guitar effects seem to form two walls rather than one around Muddiman's vocals, it strangely reminds me of the scene in horror flick Insidious when the father goes into the 'other' world of darkness, a modern Dante sketch, to find his child, we're lost in TM&TS's imagined state, but it's not too frightening, quite the opposite. The album finishes on an alternate version of 'Wildwood Stone' / 'Wildwood 'Blue' Stone', it's genuinely hard for me to decide which I prefer, the latter developing into something quite enchanting as it progresses.
To be perfectly honest I wasn't fully prepared for Paradise Runs Deeper with regard to all of the accumulated music I've heard since I first took an interest 20-odd years ago versus Muddiman's influences, but this didn't matter. What's obvious to me is how carefully crafted every chapter of this album is, Muddiman not only wanted people to enjoy these songs, but wanted to write songs that he could imagine himself enjoying too, otherwise, what's the point?
Paradise Runs Deeper is out on the 9th of September and available for pre-order here https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/paradise-runs-deeper/id1140080587