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- The Instinct by Mark McGuire
10/10 Mike Staff review, 12 September 2013
Mark McGuire of Emeralds/Inner Tube/Mark McGuire fame is back this week with this LP on New Images which consists of two side-long meditations, ‘The Instinct’ and ‘New Adaptations (of the Human Spirit)’. I’m starting with side A, as any sensible person would. It opens with some of McGuire’s trademark palm-muted grooves building up a base of warm, head-nodding Dustin Wong-esque loops with a nostalgic ‘80s feel, before halfway through McGuire just bursts into rainbows of smooth and succulent guitar shred which couldn’t possibly come from anybody else. This guy is the most distinctive soft rock guitarist since Mark Knopfler. In fact imagine a midpoint between his Inner Tube album with Spencer Clark, Phil Manley’s new age side-project Life Coach and a healthy dash of Knopfler and that’s pretty much what this sounds like.
After all that chugging, ‘New Adaptations (of the Human Spirit)’ dives straight into the cosmic synth side of McGuire’s oeuvre with shifting, shimmering waves of gleaming plastic light come bounding out of your speakers and washing over you like you’re being waterboarded with warm honey. The kosmische synths eventually give way to more of his delay-happy guitar plucking, with some field recordings of happy voices and a shuddering warmth to it which reminds me even more of Dustin Wong than the first side. There’s even some distant drifty vocals towards the end giving everything that little extra bit of lift.
This is brilliant, I could listen to it all day but sadly I’m on a 15-review marathon so don’t have time to sit around admiring the scenery. Fans of McGuire and his other projects should definitely pick this up though, it’s one of his most life-affirming releases to date.
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