Tim Muddiman’s career in music has become a bit of a paradox. He has worked as Gary Numan’s guitarist for over a decade. He’s done cataloguing work with EMI and produced and played with other artists over a considerable length of time. And yet, despite these accolades, Muddiman remains devoutly independent and opinionated on the subjects of mainstream music and consumerism. Such has evidently made for a strong focal point on Tim Muddiman and the Strange’s second album Domino Blitz.
“Independently minded and musically directional Domino Blitz goes to places that most people could hardly dare dream in a world gone crazy and controlled by the one percent”, a press release reads. “It speaks of a less corporate existence and concentrates on the things that make humans flow into places that are full of wonder and navigates a journey of strong mixed emotions throughout the entire album.”
Lyrically speaking, the LP opener “Broken Down Superstar” seems to be about the music industry’s subsequent mistreatment of a failed artist. “We thought you’d float but you don’t, so long and we wish you well.” Muddiman sings atop a sludgy guitar tone and pop-style rhythm section. The song remains catchy, cutting through the singer’s dark and slightly amused manner.
“Thrill” is much more down-tempo than the previous track and is Blues-based. However, the vocals maintain the caustic vibe like those of “Broken Down Superstar”. “Get It On” is a fitting listen to accompany a marching protest. The beat drags along like footsteps while Muddiman’s British accent implores and motivates.
“Summer Moon” is the most guitar-oriented song thus far. A tremolo type of effect on the strings kicks off the intro and remains throughout nearly the entire track. For those looking for something a bit more eerie, “From the Hills” is structured in such an ambient fashion that it’s almost disturbing.
The intro to “Rat Ballads” starts with the sound of gaming machines and samples of an audience laughing. This one would be perfectly befitting for a jazz club setting. It’s easy to picture the band dressed to the nines and one of them plays a large upright bass in this relaxing jam.
“Clark Gable” stands out for being more modern in comparison to the other songs with a tinge of electronica like one would expect when listening to Numan, which is odd when juxtaposed with lyrics referencing an actor from such a bygone period.
Those already familiar with Muddiman’s work should get what they expect from Domino Blitz. The music is unconventional, yet features elements of the blues, jazz, rock, and electronica making it an ideal record for new listeners with an open mind to experimentation of this type.