Review : Dan Maynard
Lightwork is the follow up to the 2021 releases The Puzzle/Snuggle, following the same suit as a more relaxed and mellow venture, still finding a way to differentiate itself from anything else prior to its own, Lightwork is (and I don’t use this word lightly) a work of genius. With more than twenty albums under his own name alone, not to mention his work with Steve Vai and Strapping Young Lad, plus countless other projects, Devin is never one to shy away from change. He is writing music to his own mindset and not forcing the negativity of a once angst driven machine he used to be. These days Dev is prone to the more spiritually effervescent direction of music and it is completely showcased in this album.
Opening track Moonpeople spends the first 15 seconds summing up the entire of Lightwork perfectly. The ambient calming sounds of waves, the distant sounds of birds singing their song and a low bearing hum that is reminiscent of a large boat passing a lighthouse and its partnering cliffs in the midst of a haunting but beautiful morning leading into sunrise. Yep, Devin has the magical ability to put that imagery in ones mind before any form of music or beat comes into play. Gently preceded by an almost electronic drum beat, accompanied by this lightly palm muted clean guitar. If there is any song on this album that can perfectly sum up a Devin Townsend song, it’s Moonpeople. Devy is the master of the perfect soundscape build up. If you’ve ever had the chance to hear stems from his albums or watched him in a recording session, the never ending layers of the most discreet ambience makes every bit of difference as any other tracked instrument possibly could. The track builds to a big chunky bridge, the guitar building its gain, it feels like the most natural progression, as is the final chorus of the song.
Dimensions, bring on the Gary Numan vibe mother fucker! Holy hell, it’s the most glorious synth driven head trip. Dimensions sits perfectly out of place in the most comfortable way from the rest of the album, heavy, crunchy, balls deep, Hevy Devy screams and wails, gentle vocals in between and the most eerie of backing ambience. My first time hearing this track is with quality headphones on and boy is it the best way to hear it. There’s so much going on and in the best way possible. Get ready to feel your guts drop into oblivion by the end of this.
The album closes with the epic ten minute finale, Children of God. An uplifting heartfelt closer for Lightwork, layered with stunning angelic Devin vocals, gently backed by lightly gained guitars and the marching of a drum snare. It spends the first five minutes building into a massive wall of sound that manages to possess perfect clarity. It slowly digresses into a melting pot of vocals, synth and acoustic guitars. And in a surprising reversal of his usual build up, Children of God builds up and then builds down, in the most satisfying of endings to almost any album I’ve ever heard. The final two minutes showcases the ambient calming sounds of waves, the distant sounds of birds singing their song and a low bearing hum that is reminiscent of a large boat passing a lighthouse and its partnering cliffs in the midst of a haunting but beautiful morning leading into sunrise. Sound familiar? Yep, the album is closed out almost identical to the opening of the album and it could not be more complimentary.
Our once Hevy Devy might be less heavy than said Hevy Devy….(yeah I think that sentence worked) but he is no less a god and genius, a man at 50 who isn’t afraid to express himself and admit that he is still finding his way in the world. Devin should be seen as not just a musical icon, but an inspiration for a world of not just grown adults who silently struggle through life each day, afraid to speak out due to the much demeaning views of mental health held by society, but also to a younger world who need to understand that life isn’t all about the wins and victories, but about the way you deal with the losses and how to overcome them with positivity and triumph. That’s who Devin is to me and that’s what this album represents for me personally. A man still finding his way, searching for that lighthouse through an embodiment of stunning music that comes from his heart and mind, and his alone.
Devin Townsend – ‘Lightwork’ is out Nov 4 via Inside Out Music/Sony.
Order here : https://lnk.to/lightworkaus