Reviewed by Helen Whitall
The multi-talented Ben Haynes produced this, the seventh album from the Welsh singer/songwriter, and once again co-stars as he provides inventive musical accompaniments which are positively cosmic. The intergalactic adventure begins with "Tumbling Down". After a bizarre intro of vocal sound-effects, sounding like an alien language, we are treated to a strong song about battling temptation that launches the album like a rocket with its great riff and screaming solo. The Muse-like "Up On The Shelf" feels like a journey through a far out starscape, building a sense of space appropriate for the theme of isolation and loneliness out of groovy beats, double tracked falsetto vocals and a fun keyboard marimba riff. "Healing Hands" is a prayer for healing of guilt. Its beat like echoing footsteps plods towards the climax as a musical solar storm brews, but I felt the song could have used a little more build earlier on as the lift comes very late. Taking off again, "Smile" is a joyful singalong song about picking yourself up and not wallowing in failure or negativity. Its retro sci-fi vibe gives the impression Phil is choosing to look down on the planet of his life from a higher, more positive orbit. After the stratospheric "Sunshine In The Night", a love song with a simple catchy keyboard riff that really does evoke rays of sunshine, comes "Fantasy Reality" - a sad story of a woman using drugs and drink to try to escape the difficult reality of life until it drove her to suicide. It's a tough subject, but it brings home the message that ultimately failure to face up to reality is deadly, and we need something more than escapism. The album literally goes out with a big bang with "Be A Hero"'s determined rhythm built of guitar, keys and claps in which the vocals are embedded in immersive layers. The sound, with its air raid siren, radio and electronic sounds, and message are as explosive as a supernova; don't live life under the radar, be a hero instead, life is a war so step up. Once again Lewis has produced an original, fun sound, full of catchy riffs that's just out of this world.
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