He’s at it again, and this time, Dave Matthews has nothing to do with it. After recording and collaborating on over 40 albums throughout the past 20 years, Tim Reynolds’ newest two-disc set Parallel Universe proves that he only gets better with age.
“From This World” kicks off the first disc with heavy guitar distortion underlying Tim’s signature raspy voice, the energy from which replicates that of an actual concert. “Industrial Complex” shatters the easy-going premise of the album, drawing the listener in with heavy drum beats, wooden block sounds, and a catchy guitar theme. However, the most fascinating part of it all is the backward violin effects. Given, I may be biased having been an orchestra dork since back in the days of middle school, but the eerie lightness of its strings thrown against the industrial background provides a phenomenal contrast. The first disc teases various musical genres between its tracks, especially in “Torch of Uncertainty”, which is comprised of five different musical ideas over the course of sixteen minutes. Usually, songs such as this turn me off because they can get ugly quick (think Green Day’s “American Idiot”), but the fluidity between all the concepts makes this multi-themed track a highlight of the album.
The impeccable variety in the first disc is ironically unparallel to the sameness of the second disc Invisible Pagan Underdog. But, fear not – quality is not sacrificed. Most songs contain heavy sounding guitar/drums or techno effects; some have both. Tim provides more contrast by throwing in some jazzy-sounding guitar solos in “Sometimes Love Sighs” and “Plastic Man.” Sandwiched between lighter-sounding tracks heavily laden with drum effects is “Mother Nature,” a spoken poem beautifully written and performed by Tim’s daughter, Eura.
With fusion of such an incredible variety of musical taste into a smorgasbord of sound, Parallel Universe is the ultimate listening experience.