Here's to adversity. This album was recorded after a difficult divorce and shows Belew
in a moment of self-actualization -- taking positive steps to overcome pain and hardship. And this is one of the strongest critiques of this record..."God Adrian, do you have to be so upbeat about everything?!" This is a misconception, however; the transcendental pinings are so strong in places that the darker ins and outs of this recording are often overshadowed. Nearly all instruments are played by Belew
. Probably the strongest track here is "This Is What I Believe In" (once described by Linford Detweiler
as "having more time changes than a cheap wristwatch"). Music is intense and yearning -- and Belew
sings as though his life depends on getting the words out. His guitar solo on this track sounds like a saxophone, and other diverse experimentation with the guitar litters this record at every turn. The signature lick on the first single, "Standing in the Shadows," is created by scratching the strings vertically with a guitar pick. Other transcendental songs, such as "Birds," "I'd Rather Be Right Here," or "Member of the Tribe," are uplifting exhortations -- this is the first time Adrian
has sung about this kind of thing. He sings about the dissolution of his previous marriage in the unfortunately titled "War In the Gulf Between Us" -- with a mood akin to exhaustion and resignation. From beginning to end, this is a fun romp and a fine example of Belew
's prowess -- creating inventive music that is simulateously experimental and accessable. One of his finest offerings.