Inside out and beyond the pale, English musician takes his listener on celestial mindtrip towards matutinal rapture.
“When everything’s done here, then you can go”: emerging at the end of The Curator’s third record, these words are far from signaling farewell; quite the contrary: they show that Alistair Murphy’s got a long route ahead of him, because there’s still a lot to say and play. If the artist’s previous album hinted at internal affairs of soulful sort, the follow-up to "Inside The Whale And Other Songs" will offer adventurous spirits a few outer dimensions of psychedelic stripe. Not for nothing pieces of such a starlit puzzle come grouped in two suites – “In The Bright City Streets” and “On The Lightening Plain” as defined in the eerie elegy of “The Winter Sun” – which invite a wanderer to venture beyond urban bounds and, devoid of expectations, discover new delights.
That’s what the surf-like “Lay Your Burden Down” is about, Alistair’s double-tracked vocals surrounding you to delicately command surrender and, as dramatic strings pull his voice up a brass-lined cloud, ask to escape out into the world, while the many layers of “Walking Round The World (Albert’s Song)” create an electric travelogue which is truly riveting. Slow funk may fuel “It Crackles (And It Spits)” where Murphy and Lindsey Mackie share a cluttered cosmic space and tighten the tumult before incendiary saxes start to blare, yet it’s tribal incantations that should sear your ears and make you beg for embers of common sense – or common good, if the acid-kissed, acoustically driven “Tom-All-Alone’s” is to be believed in its invoking of Charles Dickens and Pete Townshend’s gloom.
Lifting the darkness in an unexpected manner, “Angle Of Repose” resorts to rock ‘n’ roll, the omnipresent piano embracing a boogie vibe and then hiding behind the wall of horns, whereas “The River” rewrites initial rules to unfurl hopeful perspective and expose a pop tune to an almost middle-of-the-road sensibility. “We’ll be watching over you,” gently warns The Curator in “Chloe”: indeed, that’s his duty as guardian angel; let Alistair Murphy’s watch last endlessly… or, at least, until the stars will fade and morning glory will be upon us.