April 12, 2024

Duncan Lloyd – “Outside Notion” is a curate’s egg


With too many different ideas in his head and fingers to be contained within Maximo Park’s tunes, Duncan has had a number of side-projects and this is his second solo album. Far from the indie-rock of Maximo Park, this is dreamy singer-songwriter territory with orchestral texture and quiet vocals. It’s a long way from the spiky riffs that he was first known for.

Lyrics are intimate and heartfelt and don’t immediately float my boat on the first couple of dreamy orchestral songs. Let’s talk instead about the jammier, more guitar-led songs. Planetarium, for example, has a nicely dragging drum beat and crunching fuzzed guitar. Slow solo guitar work recalls Neil Young in the seventies and is expressively explorative. Lead single, Young Dreams, works well, thanks to Tom English’s drums (he’s Duncan’s bandmate in Maximo) and a loose jamming texture to the lengthy track, which again features interesting guitar noodling – this time the tone is a lovely distortion, like Eric Chenaux’s Slowly Paradise. After this set-up, the title track takes a poppier turn, with guest vocals from Sarah Suri. The pleasantly filmic Journey B, ‘Til The Fear Breaks has a touch more of gentle indie to it and doesn’t stand out. Guess and Wonder has a flavour of slow sixties psychedelia without distinguishing itself. We close on the atmospheric First, Monday, which is nicely paced without exploding with memorability.

If I was seventeen again and borrowed this album from a friend, I’d tape half the tracks before returning it. There a great EP tucked in here.

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