Looking through the worry and the bliss of awareness and innocence, English guitarist find another point of view.
Nick Fletcher might seem to have come to prominence once he’s committed to work with John Hackett and secured his progressive credentials with 2021’s solo platter "Cycles of Behaviour" which won this musician a plethora of new aficionados, but he had cut a distinctive personal path much earlier, so expanding stylistic palette and technical approach on the follow-up to the aforementioned record wasn’t too difficuде for the veteran. If a certain amount of shredding can be condoned, the string-bending speed should be applied to an albums like “The Cloud Of Unknowing” – albums that deal with the so-human state of constant confusion, the state Nick captured perfectly here.
There’s no better example of such a properly configured harmonic swirl than the frantic filigree Fletcher spun on “Out Of The Maelstrom” to weave flurries of notes into the piece’s folksy tune and direct the sonic stream to the light offered by the ivories-delivered riff. And, of course, there’s no better genre to represent the uncertainty of ignorance than fusion which is the underlying current in “The Eyes Of Persephone” whose fluttering melancholy feels infectious, Dave Bainbridge’s piano providing the elegy with a moth-to-a-flame fragile transparency, before the “Scenes From The Subconscious Mind” suite unfolds a different panorama in front of the listener’s mind eye.
However, while the heavy “Pandemonium” rages wildly while focusing on every little detail of its metal attack, elegiac glide and funky effervescence, the tripartite titular track proposes a series of wondrous theatrical experiences which require Stuart Barbour’s inspired, yet blessedly unassuming, vocals and celestial six-string passages, until the tumultuous “Dance Of The Hydra” shapes the worry as a fresh, blues-shaded twirl of guitar tornado. Contrasting the preceding assault, the acoustic lace of “Arcadia” is caressing one’s ruffled soul, only to erupt into “The Paradox” and have not one but two voices articulate this number’s melodic drama that’s shrouded in an orchestral shine with an easy-listening foundation for Fletcher’s flight on the finale and subsequent descent towards the bittersweet sunset.
It’s a major opus which is bound to take this artist much higher and make his interest in people motives even more arresting and filled with alluring motifs.