Duncan Lloyd’s been busy. Within a month of his band, Maximo Park, releasing their sixth album, the guitarist is back with his latest solo outing.
But this is no slapdash EP thrown together from off-cuts that didn’t make the grade for the Park’s ‘Risk To Exit’. A 10-track collection of propulsive, emotionally charged songs this is a fully fledged album that perfectly complements the output of his day job.
Less angular and in your face, these tracks are united by a feeling of intimacy, mood of self-reflection, and sense of longing that perfectly capture the time of their creation. Mostly written late at night while Lloyd was travelling, they focus on change in all its forms – personal divisions, the end of relationships, and destructive tendencies – without succumbing to the challenges.
So opener ‘The City Weeps’, which complements airy vocals with a powerful guitar riff and a martial rhythm, is the sound of triumph rather than despair. ‘You Seem Confused’, pairing Lloyd’s warm voice with a jangly ‘80s guitar sound, brims with optimism and confidence. Although inspired by tumult ‘Heart In Delay’, propelled by the drumming of Maximo Park’s Tom English and a forceful instrumental performance from Lloyd, certainly doesn’t wallow in self-pity. And similarly themed – and energetic – ‘Being Frank’ sounds even more like catharsis.
There are quieter, more melancholy moments too – like the hazy, nostalgic ‘Painters’, and instrumentally sparse ‘Really’ – where the self-doubt becomes more apparent, ensuring that ‘I O U O M E’ is a thoughtful, well-rounded, and worthy addition to Lloyd’s canon.