Review of Out There submitted on 21st April 2003
Out There is clearly Ricks' best album in recent years. Reminiscent of certain previous epic albums yet rooted firmly in the present, the album reaches epic symphonic proportions in the opening track. If any criticism can be levelled at it, I guess it must be that the heights reached in the opener are rarely reached again until the last track. That is not to say that the intervening tracks are weak in any way, though I do find that they seem to be'full on',insofar as they don't allow you to mellow. I would love to see this presented live, where I am sure the dynamic of this music would be better justified.Come to Newcastle Rick! why are you not? The production does, at times, minimise the virtuosity of the keyboard and guitar solos as they blend into the mix. A common fault with digital recording and production. You don't get to hear those beautiful MiniMoog filter sweeps in all there richness.That said, the album explores the source of music. How is it that we are literally moved to experience emotion, and so much more, by this strange thing we call music... or sound? Where does it come from? Ricks'lyric doesn't try to impose an answer, merely embellish the question, and, in so doing, leaves the listener to explore their own 'music soul'.Perhaps there was a time when Rick might have alluded to the rather specific answers to these questions, to be found within the the ancient Hermetic writings and other 'myths' from an ancient pre-christian era,which state that the universe itself, and all that is within it, is literally created and structured around a form identical to that observed in music theory.Conducted by God. As a scientific researcher myself, I must add that I have found nothing to persuade me that those ancient theories are wrong in any way.But Rick seems to be suggesting that music is of, and from, God (in the Christian sense) and is not therefore to be questioned, merely experienced. Whether one agrees or not with that 'hands off' philosophy, one thing is clear from this album. Rick is heading back towards his own 'music soul' and his ability to write epic themes and symphonic rock is still there, as good as ever. Wherever it comes from! A great album, and, I wouldn't mind betting, he is going to build on this in the near future.