John Wesley -
A Way You'll Never Be

(CD 2016, 56:17, InsideOut Music)

The tracks:
  1- By The Light Of A Sun(5:32)
  2- A Way You'll Never Be(7:18)
  3- The Outrun Of The Light(7:07)
  4- The Revolutionist(5:57)
  5- Nada(5:41)
  6- The Silence In Coffee(5:09)
  7- Unsafe Space(4:17)
  8- Sun.a.rose(6:44)
  9- Epic(4:51)
10- Pointless Endeavors(3:38)

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And now, a new studio album by the one and only John Wesley. His eighth it seems, while he also worked (and still works) with a lot of different artists/bands as a guest or tour musician. Busy guy! I really like his previous studio album named Disconnect (2014, see review), so I was very curious about this one!

The album contains ten tracks and is almost one hour long. John Wesley plays the guitars and provides the lead vocals. The present bass sound is something I quite like, thanks to Sean Malone, and Mark Prator is responsible for the drums and percussion. There's a special dark grunge undertone in most of the tracks, which I really like a lot, and it's still “proggy” enough for the die-hard prog rock fan. The album carries the same vibe constantly, so if you don't like that certain vibe you probably won't like to listen to the album in its entirety. Luckily, I adore that dark vibe. This is probably something a lot of Porcupine Tree fans will appreciate. I won't say that it sounds like Porcupine Tree, but it somehow carries a special atmosphere that you can really appreciate as a PT fan. I think it's because of some of the guitar riffs and sounds John uses.

It immediately starts in your face with By The Light Of A Sun. My favourite on the album! A Way You'll Never Be carries a bit of a Rush vibe. You think the song is over after four minutes, but it turns into a long instrumental outro, reminding me a bit of the music the band Amplifier makes. To Outrun The Light is even heavier and darker than the previous two tracks, and I really enjoy the guitar solo. The Revolutionist is a more uptempo track, and carries that Porcupine Tree vibe I mentioned earlier. You would think that Nada is a song that is less heavy than the other ones, but the intro puts you on the wrong track. This is another pearl on this album, with lovely heavy guitar sounds and solos, and amazing bass and drum solos too! This would be an amazing live track! The Silence In Coffee (love the title of this one) is a quieter song, but the raw voice of John carries a heavy load. The outro is beautiful and ambient like. Unsafe Space is an instrumental piece, and has that real grungy/bluesy feel. Sun.A.Rose sucks you back into the vibe the album carries with the first tracks. Epic has some sort of Black Sabbath meets prog feel, and fades into Pointless Endeavors, which is the last, and also shortest track on the album.

Let me say that John Wesley is a very talented guy! I can understand that not everyone will like his voice, but it shouldn't be something to avoid this album, so at least give it a try. I have to admit that the album loses a bit of power at the end, but this is something I would recommend to a lot of people to listen to. A must have!

***** Iris Hidding (edited by Robert James Pashman)

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