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Miller, Rick: Unstuck In Time

The second of two 2020 releases from Rick Miller, Unstuck In Time could easily have been retitled, Time On My Hands. Why? Well, because if ever an album was patient in its intention of taking you to its destination it’s this one. Miller says himself on his bandcamp page that if you’re looking for progressive rock that has a prediction for metallic riffs and screamed vocals, then you’d best move along… these are not the songs you’re looking for. Hence the many clocks on this CD’s cover feel just perfect for the likes of the meandering, Gregorian Chant infused vintage prog of “The Plague” as it takes us on a twelve minute voyage across ebbing and flowing landscapes. Like much else here, you could argue that not much happens and yet the smooth passage across nuanced and crafted sections that come together to make a cohesive whole proves engaging nonetheless. It’s almost as though you’re willing this album to reveal and deliver more but somehow delighted that it never does.

It’s a theme throughout as a sound that sits somewhere between Floyd at their most languid and the less exuberant offerings from Gandalf’s Fist, something the electronically edged vocals emphasise, surrounds you. The short synth sojourn that makes up the “Covid Concerto” proves much more upbeat and Jarre like than its name suggests, thankfully, but it does confirm that Unstuck In Time is an album that’s hardly likely to be pulled out at a party to get things started. No, like much of the music arriving during these unwelcome times, the despairing tone of everyday life is often, if not always, reflected in the themes and choices taken here. At times that does mean that, for my taste, Miller’s excellent guitar work is allowed to slip too far out of ear-shot but with an expert hand on the arrangements and a clearly considered mood and tone throughout, it’s not always the problem that it might have been.

Approached in the wrong frame of mind, I will admit that Rick Miller’s music can come across as just a little dowdy and yet, after a few visits, there’s undoubtedly a richer field of emotions at play than originally picked up on. The results make for a fine companion in these uncertain times, where the singular focus but gently varied approach offers reassurance, if not quite so much resolution.

Track Listing
1. The Plague
2. State of Emergency
3. Covid Concerto
4. Fateful Apparitions
5. La Causa
6. Lost Continuum
7. In Sync with the System
8. Broken Clocks
9. Unstuck in Time

Added: February 3rd 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Rick Miller @ bandcamp
Hits: 174
Language: english

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