The Right Honourable 2019
Fifty years on since his rock debut, venerable violinist charts an exciting route forward.
Just when it started to seem that Darryl Way has lost his ability to surprise the listener – the violinist’s latest albums, such as "Myths, Legends And Tales" felt dry in their marriage of symphonic idiom to pop landscape – arrives a record which successfully remaps one’s perception of the veteran’s method. Neither CURVED AIR nor WOLF saw him use guitar, but this is what Way does here, with “here” shifting across time zones and styles, as Darryl strings create stirring images of various places, from urban to pastoral and beyond.
There’s a classical vista in “Metropolis” whose grandeur is undermined thanks to cosmic frivolity, yet if “insistent” and “relentless” weren’t part of his musical vocabulary for a long time, opener “Downtown LA” throws this deficiency out the window to introduce a streamlined groove upon which Way’s instruments lay unison-driven harmonies before first ruffling them with a riff and a nimble-fingered filigree and then letting country licks kick the hard-rock showcase to the curb and be pushed aside by atmospheric fusion festoons – all set to the backdrop of sirens and other city sounds. Still, the acoustic fabric of “The Restless City” rustles with punk strum and evokes “Fascinating Rhythm” so piano and organ would further spice up the piece’s carnival air, the fragrance softening in “Riviera Blue” and finding its tender twang fleshed out and given Caribbean vibe in “Antigua Bay” that’s simultaneously frisky and delicate.
While “The Stars” may be the most romantic number on display, its spaced-out beauty won’t reveal a lot of depth, unlike the deceptively pompous “A Rainy Day In Vienna” where violin parts are poignant and guitar solos uplifting, or “The Wild West” where Morriconesque moves are rather arresting – until brass-tinged prog passages and flamenco lace come into view to take one’s breath away. And if the same elements in “Freedom Road” can tick many boxes for an AOR aficionado, especially when heaviness is revving up, “Mystic Mountain” brings on mellow folk motif, the quintessence of Darryl Way’s approach to electric music. Second wind? About time.