You ever wonder what would happen if you combined delay pedals, Roxy Music and a love for astronomy? Yeah me neither until I listened to Thomas Allen Cummins. Cummins is an artist who has been making music since the early 80’s. He initially played guitar and bass, formed a band called Nerve Center and eventually developed a solo career. His latest release entitled Planetary is an instrumental rock album where according to Cummins “Each song is an interpretation of the personality of the planets of our solar system including the theoretical planet ‘Theia’ that is thought to have collided with the Earth in the early stages of planetary development which resulted in the formation of the Moon.” He uses a heavy dose of reverb with long tails on his guitars to mimic celestial comets as well as delays and soft pads to convey a sound that is supposed to sound as big as the galaxy. This music essentially sounds like a band from the 80’s performing a space opera.
“Saturn Spins” is one of the highlights on the album and implements The Class-inspired guitar playing that starts off the song before giving way to soft pads of mercury and guitar picking. The song has an inspired bass line to boot along with an interstellar guitar solo. “Earth Mover” adds a number of layers within the first minute. We are introduced to the song with bright pads followed by an infectious, sharply played bass line and drums. The song has a lot of energy to it due to the fast BPM but at the same time it feels pretty mellow because of the copious amount of reverb. I got the feeling I was riding a comet nestled in a safety net able to observe the planets.
A lot of the songs sound similar on this album and if you like one you are bound to like them all. From a technical standpoint Cummins is talented and creatively he is solid even if his style can often sound a bit dated. If you are into 80’s instrumental rock this a no brainer, so go pick it up.
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