Published Feb 04, 2014Unlike many other defunct musical outfits, where the solo parts never matched up to the sum, the regrettable dissolution of Emeralds a year ago does have its silver lining. John Elliott, Steve Hauschildt and Mark McGuire are all doing a decent job of filling that void with their respective solo projects, the latest of which comes from multi-instrumentalist Mark McGuire.
Along The Way is just over an hour of hazy vignettes divided into four chapters that range from Emeralds-like processed guitar and synth arpeggiation, to delicate acoustic-led instrumentals reminiscent of the rustic haze of Brokeback, to psychedelic new age jams that recall memories of Ozric Tentacles or Mike Oldfield, albeit contextualised in a more tasteful, contemporary framework. Throughout the album, McGuire augments the pieces with judicious, textural use of samples, Talkbox and vocals — with the latter hidden way down in the mix — drawing on pop as much as wew age or electronica.
The resulting album feels like a series of sketches frozen in time, like Polaroids of key life moments or postcards sent home to friends and family. Along The Way is a meandering yet focused record of new new age which, paired with the extensive and somewhat dizzying liner notes, makes it a spiritual and heavily emotive listen. (Dead Oceans)