Out on September 9, the new album from Tim Muddiman & The Strange, ‘Paradise Runs Deeper’, is an album with something for everyone. Twelve tracks long, including his previous releases, ‘Wildwood Stone’, ‘Rolling Stones’, ‘Your Drugs’, and most recent track, ‘Glass Queen’, it’s rock and pop and everything in between, with Tim’s signature guitar style underpinning the entire album.
It’d be unfair to say it’s harking back to any musical era, as Tim puts his own touch to every one of his songs, but it does appear to pay homage to the sound of the 80s and 90s – this is seen best in ‘Rolling Stones’, which feels like a nod to the likes of New Order.
‘Glass Queen’, the third track on the album, which was released as a single in early August, has a rock-infused indie sound which makes it exactly the sort of song that sounds best through headphones with your eyes closed. The rocking guitar and drawling vocals complement each other perfectly. There’s some really nice reverb going on in the track that reminds us of someone else but we can’t quite put our fingers on it. And that’s a good thing.
‘Damage Is Done’, song four, is anthemic and gorgeous, lyrically complex and Tim’s vocals pitch perfect, with the harmonies the perfect counterpoint.
Muddiman cites among his influences Nine Inch Nails and Nick Cave among others, and hints of this is seen throughout the album, but nonetheless he has a style all of his very own which is quite appealing. Halfway through the album we have a reworked version of ‘Wildwood Stone’, heavy and bluesy, we can only imagine just how good it would sound live.
‘Strangers’, track 7, is a departure from what we’ve heard already, and perhaps pays homage to Gary Numan, for whom Muddiman has served as guitarist in his band over the past 10 years or so. It’s still guitar-led, but with a nice electro beat at the beginning, and some almost a capella vocals at the start. Numan said of Tim,
“I’ve watched Tim Muddiman & The Strange grow from a nervous idea into a beautifully crafted musical creation.”
It’s an apt description for the album, which explores as many different musical styles and themes as there are songs. ‘Strangers’ is a political piece, examining the idea of no longer feeling like you fit into the world, and just what to do about it. ‘The Hard Way’ and ‘Slide Away’ return to the rockier sound of the earlier songs, with a moderate melancholy about them. Track 10, ‘Your Drugs’, which we covered in November last year, is a track about allowing your creativity to be heightened by natural means – “Put down your drugs, and swallow love”. The percussion in this song is a fitting adjunct, allowing the soaring guitars and vocals to take over.
‘Oversea-Underworld’ is a raw, rock track, which will make you want to get up and dance, while the album closes with the magnificent ‘Wake Up The Sun’, with Muddiman’s vocals smooth and mellow, deliciously darting in and out the gorgeous instrumentation.
‘Paradise Runs Deeper’ is out on September 9, and is available to preorder from iTunes. You can catch Tim Muddiman & The Strange at The Lexington, London, this Sunday 4th September. Check here for further details.