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Wilson, Damian: Limehouse To Lechlade

Damian Wilson needs little introduction in the world of progressive rock and metal, the versatile singer having fronted Threshold, Landmarq, Rick Wakeman’s band, Headspace, Star One and, alongside now being the vocalist in Arena, many more. Throughout his years with all of those acts, Wilson has also maintained a rich and equally - if not more - diverse solo career, although it is some five years since his previous effort, Built For Fighting appeared.

Here, flanked by the likes of Alex Reeves (Elbow), Lee Pomeroy (ELO), Michael Buckley (Glen Hansard) and Chris Hill (Jamie Cullum), Wilson is taking us from Limehouse To Lechlade, which for those not in the know are two stop-off points on the River Thames. For many a year Wilson has lived a nomadic life on a river boat and hence that title, while being beautiful and poetic, holds a more symbolic meaning for the singer, what with it in many ways representing his own life’s journey. The songs themselves here have been written over the last 20 years and so it’s fitting that they slot into what feels like a remarkably honest, open and in places autobiographical album.

From the off it’s clear that anyone expecting a progressive rock masterpiece is in for a shock - unless of course they’ve followed Wilson’s solo work before, what with it only ever hinting at his ‘day jobs’. So, how would one describe L-to-L? In all honesty, it’s not an easy task, because this isn’t, for much of its length, rock music, but then it isn’t pop, nor is there much if any prog. What there is in abundance though is melody. Loads and loads and oodles and then a splodge more melody. This is sing along fare and then some, even if the more exuberant moments still verge on being quite contained. Taking that crown would probably be “It Ends Here” where an energetic vocal sparks off some tasty guitar work and stabs of brass - in short, it’s quite magnificent.

“Women On My Mind” and its gentle brushed snare and acoustic guitar follow, harmony vocals sparkling in this loosely country setting, while “Once We’re Gone” leans back into brass territory, but here it’s proud and bold, even if the song remains tight and controlled. Throughout, Wilson is in incredible vocal form and while it’s not his solo work that this singer is best known for, I find it hard not to acknowledge that it’s in this kind of setting that his voice comes completely alive. Interestingly, “Fire And Ashes” then adds a Latin flavour and for me its Ricky Martin-lite air is a step too far. Add in that my other half - and she would know - asked if I was listening to a new Take That song when “Picture” wandered joyfully from the speakers and, while all expertly crafted, I must admit that there are a few occasions on this album that ask me to believe more than my ears tell me I should.

That said, Limehouse To Lechlade possesses a true and honest heart and songs that clearly mean a huge amount to the man behind them. It’s not an album that will satisfy all of Wilson’s more prog-minded fans, but then surely that’s the point of a solo album in the first place.


Track Listing
1. Once We’re Gone

2. Limehouse To Lechlade

3. Climbing Frame

4. Let Me Down Slowly

5. Fire & Ashes

6. Picture

7. No Money

8. Key To Life

9. Hard To Keep Faith

10. Must We Say Goodnight

11. It Ends Here

12. Women On My Mind

13. Cornerstone

14. Seek For Adventure (band version) - CD/Digital bonus track

Added: December 11th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Damian Wilson @ bandcamp
Hits: 274
Language: english

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