This is the third and final installment in multi-instrumentalist Rich Casey's "Melancholy Trilogy" – a mostly instrumental exploration, Casey says, of "the dangers of temptation and the power and pain of reflection." More to the point, this is lush, atmospheric music that's alternately majestic ("Shadowblack's Farewell") and subtle ("Requiem" before it segues into the quirky "No Deposit, No Return" with its "Eminence Front" keyboards and a persistent sax).
Casey's work is largely influenced by vintage Genesis and the royal Mellotron sounds of yore, captured most convincingly on "Don't Be Late!" And with a fat-sounding, feel-good Steve Hackett-style guitar solo on "Architects of Fear," he takes listeners back to the carefree, high-flying days of Seventies rock. The two vocal tracks here, both sung by Gabrielle Agachiko, are polar opposites. "Circles/Birds of Prey" is a soaring, spacey piece in which Agachiko's voice often gets lost in the mix, but on "Bleed Me" – Shadowblack's heaviest track – she unexpectedly comes off sounding like Joan Jett's little sister: bold and brash with an equally aggressive performance from Casey.
I'm not sure how all this relates to the theme the Massachusetts-based musician established for himself with 2006's No Way Out and continued with 2007's House of Cards. But it's enjoyable enough and, at 44 minutes, doesn't wear out its welcome.
1) Shadowblack's Farewell
2) Circles/Birds of Prey
3) Lure of Oleander
4) Bleed Me
5) Architects of Fear
6) Requiem/No Deposit, No Return
7) Don't Be Late!
8) Till We Meet Again