I've been shouting in my sleep
and I'm shaking like a leaf
harbouring feelings of
not being bold enough
I hope that I can find the strength
to get from underneath
One Word Review: Reflection
Ray Wilson is back with a new solo album, sure to please existing fans and bring new ones into the fold. Chasing Rainbows holds everything I already love about his music and adds a few surprises in order to keep the evolution between albums going.
I discovered Ray Wilson back in 2003 with his first solo album Change, and was immediately captivated by the atmosphere conjured by just an acoustic guitar and his deep, full-bodied voce. In addition to that, meaningful lyrics added further depth. At that point I had no idea about his previous work with bands like Genesis, Stiltskin, Cut and Guaranteed Pure, but naturally proceeded to seek out as much of his back catalogue as I could find.
Through the years Ray Wilson has released several high quality albums in both his own name and under the Stiltskin moniker. Through all these releases, a common denominator has been his incredible voice and a wonderful atmosphere, always with a melancholy beast lurking in the background. This combination just works.
Each album has evolved and experimented in various ways. The same goes for Chasing Rainbows, where new elements are drawn into the sound, the most obvious being a saxophone and some vocal experiments.
Classical elements have been introduced over the years and on Chasing Rainbows, the sound is very balanced and all songs contain string arrangements of some kind. This feels like a natural extension of the music and is incorporated better than ever here. The string arrangements give air and flow to the music, and a ton of atmosphere. A good example of this is I See It All where the strings fills the song with a sense of foreboding right away.
The lyrics hold inner reflection and love, deep at heart but often tackle other issues. Ray's lyrics always seem to touch ground with me and it is no different this time.
The saxophone first shows itself in the opening song, Take It Slow and immediately lends extra depth to an already deep song. Take It Slow is a brave way to open the album and one that works brilliantly in setting the mood. I hope the saxophone is here to stay for future albums. Easier That Way is more immediate and takes a more direct route with an easy going chorus.
There are many highlights through the album, moments that suddenly stand out in the right surroundings. These include the soothing opening to Shouting In My Sleep, the atmosphere of Rhianne where the desperation shines through to great effect, the string arrangements which sneak up on me and suddenly result in a wide smile because they're just wonderful, the absolutely infectious melody of Whatever Happened which I've been humming for days now, and not in the least, the openly positive vibes of She's a Queen, a favourite which was sung at my wedding in an amazing cover version by Claes Wegener. The album goes from strength to strength right through to the last song, no fillers.
I didn't find any immediate favorites on Chasing Rainbows, instead the songs take turns to stand out, this gives the album a great flow and in the end it is just as convincing as the previous albums, bordering on addictive. It really is a grower.
Ray Wilson is quite unique. He does his own thing and succeeds in hatching something special every time. That special something is hard to describe. It is a feeling overall. That excellent musicians surround him of course helps quite a bit. Ray's albums can be bought at his official website where you can also see his current tour dates. I'd recommend starting out with Change, or if you want something heavier, Stiltskin's She album. Both are superb albums, as is Chasing Rainbows.
I can't imagine life without her
since we met it just gets better
there could never be a way
I could ever just forget her
from the first day I was sure
and it hasn't changed since then
my life was so unclear
and now it all makes sense again
I would struggle to find anyone
who has given any reason
why I shouldn't feel this certain
why I shouldn't keep believing
there's a million different reasons
and I try so hard to find them
she's the one
Written By Steen
Online: Monday, May 13, 2013
Easier That Way
She's A Queen
She's A Queen