As much as I detest the idea that there I such a thing as musician’s musicians, coming with it the implication that to truly understand the work of that artist you have to be an artist yourself, Panic Room guitarist Dave Foster is one of those musicians for whom other musicians have nothing but the greatest respect for. An uber talented player who has spent time working with the likes of Marillion’s Steve Rotherey, Dave has also begun to put together a back catalogue of solo album projects to which has been added their third release Nocebo.
Nocebo is an album made up of eleven tracks written by Dave in collaboration with vocalist Dinet Poortman. Weighing in at a shade under one hours long this album does, nevertheless, flow in a way that makes time stand still. Unlike some other weighty and progressive albums this doesn’t come over as an album that needs heavy investment to enjoy it, rather it makes that investment made a totally enjoyable and immersive experience. Much of that feeling comes from the way in which the music, and the playing of it by some very talented individuals, is allowed the time and space to express itself; the feeling that the performances are never forced and that are completely in tune with all around them.
As of the musician’s that have created this album. The vocals of co-writer Dinet Poortman have an other worldly feel to them that float over the melodies and riffs beautifully, transporting the listener on flights of aural wonderment. Presented seemingly simply, with the not so obvious skill being disguising the complexities brilliantly done, Dinet needs no tricks to show off the lyrics, relying instead on a clarity of phrase and tone that is refreshing as it is honest. Much of that ability must come, however, from working with musician’s who understand how to back this type of vocal performance. The appearance of Steve Rotherey and, Marillion band mate, Pete Trewavas, means that sort of subtlety should be expected. But that expectation is also carried on by the musician’s Dave works with regularly with the likes of drummers Stuart Browne and Leon Parr and bassist Yatim Halimi sprinkling their own brand of magic over the work.
Final word must go to the man whose name makes up this band, both for his fabulous guitar work but also his, along with Al Unsworth, production which welds together with a special kind of musical alchemy, that is maybe foreign to a non-musical reviewer like I, but which, nevertheless, has created a work which will appeal to all who like, love and adore music that lifts the soul and replenishes the emotions. Knowing exactly how much of everything to put into an album, knowing when to give free reign to moments of musical mastery, knowing how to create light and shade is a skill only given to a few, and which even fewer know how to do well. Dave Foster is one of those very few and Nocebo is an album that demonstrates that perfectly.
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