A landmark masterpiece for Chicago’s Dream Brother.
Chicago-based singerguitarist Ryley Walker says that when he started recording his fourth album since 2014’s All Kinds Of You, he wanted to make “an anti-folk record… something weird and far out that came from the heart”. That’s one of several reasons why Walker recalls the late Tim Buckley. Then there are the rich vocals, continuing with a questing spirit and manifesting in backdrops veering between smoky jazz-laced watercolours and exotic progressive rock. It’s all enhanced by Ryley, co-producer LeRoy Bach and heavy Chicago friends deploying intricate webs of guitars, burnished flute and languid double bass (a further twist added by pastoral sections that indicate his love of classic Genesis). Irresistible in its emotional pull, the album unfolds as a roller coaster of moods. The tremors in Walker’s battle-scarred voice also invoke Tim Hardin or Jackie Leven on Expired, while the tortured soul of original influence John Fahey haunts Rocks On Rainbow, and Telluride Speed hurtles through complex twists and turns like extreme jazz prog. Such astonishing visions would have been hailed a landmark masterpiece 50 years ago. Today that still stands. KN