The new album from Tim Muddiman & The Strange, ‘Domino Blitz’ feels like it draws something from Bowie’s ‘Diamond Dogs’. There’s a distinctly dystopian vibe to the twelve track record, the follow up to Tim’s 2016 debut, ‘Paradise Runs Deeper’. It’s dark and deep, and moody, but it’s what you might expect from Muddiman if you’re familiar with his previous releases.
Opening with ‘Broken Down Superstar’, we find even more Bowie comparisons – it’s like Muddiman’s version of ‘Ziggy Stadust’, a song about a fallen star who fans now no longer hold aloft. Tim spits out the lyrics, mocking and vicious, while he’s backed up by hard rocking and bluesy guitars and drums. ‘Thrill’, the next track, would work well on a David Lynch soundtrack – eerie and again, that bluesy guitar and Muddiman’s drawling of the lyrics going together like pleasure and pain.
Muddiman has been a long-time member of Gary Numan’s band, and it’d be a surprise if nothing from him rubbed off on his music. ‘Get It On’, track three, for which Tim has released a video, is possibly the most Numan-like of all the songs on the album, and feels like it could easily have been added as a bonus track to Numan’s latest release, ‘Savage’, a record about a post-apocalyptic world.
Song four is the title track, ‘Domino Blitz’, a strong and strident treatise, is dark and conjures up images of people roaming about inner city London. Lyrics such as “Through a needle I saw much love to trust/the hands of a ventriloquist” reflect a very mature and contemplative writing style, which draws the listener in with a curiosity to find out what happens next.
Conversely, ‘Summer Moon’ has a bit of a western flavour, and certainly piqued the interest of this LA-loving listener with its lines such as “her eyes burned like sun over Laurel Canyon”. Again, if David Lynch is wanting songs for his next project, he should look no further than Tim Muddiman.
Muddiman’s vocal style is raw and unpolished but it’s perfect for his songs. I’d be intrigued to know where he was when the songs were written: there’s a few which would say have a distinct Southern California vibe to them, and that’s even without the LA references. ‘Wild Horses’, track seven, takes me back to my Australian teens listening to psych rock band The Church; the sun, sand and salt-air feel comes right through this song.
‘Rat Ballads’ changes the pace a bit, opening with pub sounds, making way for double bass, snare drums, and some nice harmonies backing Muddiman’s gravelly vocals.
‘White Dove’, the 9th track, is BLUES. Right from the first note. By this point you feel this is where Tim is most comfortable, and it’s got to be said it fits his Nick Cave-esque voice well. ‘Burn The Witches’ has some beautiful reverby guitar work, and the Lynch-ian atmosphere is strong once again.
Penultimate song, ‘Clark Gable’, is probably the first true deviation from blues all album, and only as far as The Smiths. Muddiman has managed to fit as many lyrics in as he possibly can without the track feeling completely over-stuffed: and yet he still leaves room for a guitar solo. It’s possibly my favourite song on the album – a tough call as I’ve enjoyed the album immensely.
We finish with ‘Out Of This World’, and it’s back to where we started, with a Bowie-like sound. Altogether it’s a strong and thoroughly pleasing album and like all the best music, left us wanting more.
‘Domino Blitz’ is independently released on Tim’s own label, Gun Street Music, and can pre-ordered until May 11 through his PledgeMusic page. Following that date the album will be released on all digital platforms.