Ricky Gardiner Songs 2015
Back to prog begging, veteran six-stringer explores the endless possibilities of wonder.
Plugging a guitar is a sensitive matter for Ricky Gardiner – literally so, as he suffers from electrosensitivity – but it doesn’t stop the artist whose licks adorn Bowie’s “Low” and Iggy’s “Lust For Life” from experimenting. The axeman’s last album under his own name being 1998’s "The Passenger", in the recent years Ricky and his wife, keyboard player Virginia Scott, revived the name of their old band, and a new BEGGARS OPERA releases, such as "Promise In Motion", saw Gardiner gradually return to the art-rock intent of yore. It goes grand for this 19-piece collection of instrumentals, largely devoid of ambition while striving for beauty – sometimes breathtaking as in the effervescent, non-nocturnal twang of “Night” that grows in scope and in groove, sometimes translucently elusive like in “One Day” which aims for high hope.
Some may say, the guitarist’s taking stock now, as “Seventy One” could be a reference to his group’s heyday and his age at the time of this cut’s creation, yet there’s taut energy in the harmonic stack of “Epoch” and a buzzing delicacy in “So It All Becomes A Story.” More so, “The Total” offers a silvery reverie as the strings ripple over the organ flow – with piano joining in for the low-toned “Did I Tell You” – before it turns lightly anthemic for “Free Wish” and “Lucky” marries solemnity with an upbeat feel. So yes, Gardiner, a sensitive soul, might count the cost of the years, yet “Songs” somehow signals a new lease of life for Ricky. The passenger has become a pathfinder once again.