I’m always on the lookout for news from bands I follow, but sometimes they just sneak a release up on me. Rick Miller unceremoniously dropped a new album on us a few days ago. I figured he had been working on something since his last release in 2015, but the release was still just very sudden. “Delusional” released on the 8th of March, and sees Rick exploring somewhat newer territory musically.
Rick has a huge discography. He is something akin to a darker, more psychedelic Steve Hackett, right down to the great guitars and the understated vocals. His musical style on this album is somewhat different, however. While the progressive rock foundation still stands, Rick seems to be experimenting with electronic elements and programming much more this time, and the results are eerie and atmospheric.
Rick handles most of the instruments on all of his releases. He always offers fantastic guitar solos, but I also noticed that he is offering more keys than normal this time, and they are composed wonderfully and deliciously varied in filtering. On “Delusional”, he does also enlist Sarah Young on flute, Mateusz Swoboda on cello, Barry Haggarty on Stratocaster, Will on drums, plus Kane Miller as a spoken word telecaster. The album feels varied and eclectic as a result.
Now, the lyrical content on “Delusional” is really dark. It puts us in the mind of a killer, and it can get a bit unsettling at times. This means that the album is quite grim and atmospheric and shadowy. I’ve always been impressed with Rick’s ability to create the feelings of texture and emotional instability in his music, and this album is no different. You will be disturbed and you will feel the torn nature of the killer’s brain.
The album itself flows wonderfully from track to track. Certain songs are specifically notable here, though. “The Garden of Forking Paths” is an epic length track that is rather subtle and subdued. It flows like liquid from vocals and guitars to ambient and electronic elements. “Serial Killer” is another great song: It is shadowy and grim with an electronic section in the middle that transitions to guitars and screams. Yes, screams.
The album seems to get take a more hopeful tone during the last few tracks — maybe “sympathetic” is the better word. “Delusional Psychosis” is one such song, and it is such a textured and atmospheric track. It has lots of dark and soaring moments of inner struggle and ruin. “Midnight” ends the album with feelings of shadowy noir and melody, and I love it.
“Delusional” is yet another solid album from the great Rick Miller. His albums seem slapped together in his spare time, but the results are always top quality. Spend some money and give ol’ Rick some recognition.
Find Rick Miller online: