I have not heard all of Canadian singer and multi-instrumentalist Rick Miller's albums, but I've heard enough of them to realize that they are almost interchangeable. That said, Miller's latest, In the Shadows, finds him in a mellower mood than on earlier releases. But the songs here are no less melodic; in fact, Miller seems to be fine-tuning his craft while continuing to rely on influences that range from Pink Floyd and Steve Hackett to the Alan Parsons Project and the Moody Blues.
There's a somber tone to many of these songs, including the otherwise grand opener "A Promise Worth Making." Other songs, such as "The Twilight Beckons Me" and the flute-filled "Life in the Shadows," deliver what could be described as folky prog, and Miller sings many of them in a voice reminiscent of Ian Anderson and Guy Manning, a trait he seems to have developed on 2009's Falling Through Rainbows. Perhaps the major problem here is that the pacing and melodies all tend to sound too similar. A little more variety (as on 2008's Angel of My Soul) would have been welcome.
Still, "Ombres" — a mysterious, melancholy cut that features some of his smoldering guitar work — is among the best songs I've heard from Miller. The guy's music still sounds like it should have been released in, oh, 1974. But In the Shadows emerges as one of his stronger efforts and (like his other releases) should please most prog fans.
1) A Promise Worth Making
2) The River Lethe
3) Heaven In Your Eyes
5) Life In the Shadows
6) The Twilight Beckons
7) The Fall of Uqbar
8) Angel Eyes Pt. 1
9) The Young Man and The Mirror
10) The Last Night
11) The Breeze, The Ocean, The Rain (Bonus Track)