The striking cover design for this collection of songs has a cosmic theme with an image of the pilot for this sonic expedition, Captain Dan Reed, reaching up towards some galactic energy source. The extremely similar bpm settings for the drum machine used on the tracks certainly helps to convey the sense of a spacecraft drifting through an endless void while the occupants glide together in a blissed-out state in zero gravity. Mostly recorded at the artist’s Zero One Studios in Prague as primarily a solo project, with him mainly taking care of duties for vocals, guitars, keys and bass, as well as programming the drums and percussion, this is his fifth solo album outside of the Dan Reed Network. Created as a response to the troubled times we are all experiencing in 2020 the songs are gentle reflections, richly recorded and full of soft melodies that are soothing without being instantly memorable (although the bouncing lilt and strong chorus of “Hang Back” comes close to being an earworm).
The lyrics are thoughtful with lines like “there’s no perfect way to find a melody, there’s no perfect way to make a blind man see, all I got is all the love you gave on that rainy day, no amount of tears can wash the pain away” from “Shed My Skin” and “like a landslide your voice covers up the world’s lies, makes the dark turn beautiful and true, and maybe you’ll fall, maybe you’ll miss the last call, as long as you stay beautiful to you” from “Landslide” being typical of the narrative that runs through the songs.
The multi-instrumentalist noted that he was inspired to play more lead guitar after touring with youthful hero Jeff Beck and nowhere is this more evident than on the excellent instrumental bridging track “Docking Sequence”. The addition of two female backing vocalists, Emily Lynn and Lara Smiles, on “Spaceship Built for Two” and “Back to Earth” give these two tracks additional energy and wider harmonic range that makes them stand out, the latter memorably featuring words taken from Native American activist Russell Means when addressing the US Congress. “Man-of-War” leads the way strongly towards the close with some melodic and powerful guitar work from Mr Reed. A decent collection of songs that form a pleasing and cohesive whole, and which blend together harmoniously in a mellow groove.
Bluesdoodles Ratings: For Everybody: Good listening, worth checking out – whilst – Dan Reed fans: Great Listening – A worthwhile addition to your collection
2. Spaceship Built for Two
4. Back to Earth
5. Hang Back
6. Docking Sequence
7. Shed My Skin Butterfly
8. Deeper Than Our Fear
9. Man of War
10. Heaven’s in Flames