Miller, Rick - Belief In The Machine,
Canadian Rick Miller is back with his fourteenth album, two years after ‘Delusional’. This is very much a continuation of the change in style he has been working on recently where there is much more of a rock element within his music, and his band is the same as the last album apart from this time around only Barry Haggarty provides guitar, as Kane Miller is no longer involved. Given Kane has been a mainstay since Rick’s fourth album, 2004’s ‘Dreamtigers’, that is quite a shift. But Haggarty’s relationship with Rick goes back even further, while flautist Sarah Young has also been involved for more than 15 years. Both drummer Will and cellist Mateusz Swoboda also have a long history with Rick, who describes this album as being "in the genre of what I would call Progressive Rock. That term defining the type of music that was made famous throughout the 70's by bands such as Genesis, The Moody Blues and Pink Floyd."
To be honest, that is a pretty good description, Rick (who provides vocals and all other instrumentation) used to be thought of as more dreamscape and cinematic, yet while there are still huge Pink Floyd influences within this, there is also plenty of the more dreamy Eighties The Moody Blues. It is an incredibly easy album to listen to, with strong guitars throughout which provide a welcome edge as only a Stratocaster can do, but this contrasts against the rest of the music which is far more sedate and relaxed.
This is the eighth release I have reviewed from Rick over the years, and I am surprised he isn’t more widely known as he continues to deliver album after album of great progressive rock music in a more relaxed tone, and is someone I enjoy hearing each and every time. Just seeing the name Rick Miller on a CD makes me know that here is something of quality, and it is not often that can be said these days. I have never given Rick a poor review (I really ought to seek out the early albums at some point), and there isn’t going to be any change this time, as this is yet another superb relaxed album from a wonderful musician and arranger. He provides great songs, knows exactly the vocal style it needs, and brings it all together each and every time. Superb.