Road Trip – Merry Go Round
Release Date: 21/01/2022
Running Time: 53:36
Review by Martin Bennewith
“Merry Go Round” by Road Trip (Dave Hulatt) is a mixture of all the things I like about rock music. As an album rooted in they Psychedelic Rock genre, by nature it does not place itself right in your face with flashiness and overagression, instead it meanders through the time it takes to listen, with clear influences of early Barrett driven Floyd, as well as crossing into the realms of more arty, Progressive Rock, and the occasional flirt with a harder 70s sound. The album has a large focus on lead guitar, and to a lesser extent synthesised leads, where some may feel this is overdone, for the most part, I think it is a breath of fresh air.
The album begins with ‘Cracks In Space’, which has a Late 60s Psychedelic Rock feel, sometimes crossing into harder Rock. It is energetic, with dreamy lyrics, overdriven guitars but a fresh and easy listen.
Next is ‘The Rabbit Hole’, which begins as eerie Folk, but emerges into softer Rock, with swirling tense lead guitar, progressive, hypnotic rhythms, and some swirling synths to compliment the guitar.
The third track, ‘Light of Perfection’ is introduced by Sweet guitar sounds prior to some delicate piano which carries emotion. With almost a country feel, the buildup is upbeat and progessive, and the lead guitar kicks in telling the story, with some synth bubbles creating a dreamy feel. This leads to a more tense section with a change of rhythm. A nice track.
Next is ‘Station In The Sky’. Classic Psychedelic Rock lyrics and singing style, dreamy, musically tense and modal – fun! The lead playing explores the possibilities of the underlying harmony well, with sinister musical breaks adding to the tension.
‘The Maze’ has an epic sounding beginning, which leads to an interesting part that is hard to pin down rhythmically and musically, and we get the same sort of dreamy lyrics again, over a loose Rock and Fusion jam. The number ebbs and flows, and evolves enough to keep me interested.
The next track, ‘Times Gone By’ is a bit different. It begins with a soft, emotional soulful feel, and when the lead guitar kicks in, the mood is emphasised some more, with floating melodies and effects that are soft and sustained. The mood slightly evolves and becomes even more laid back and reflective as the number progresses. A sweet instrumental track.
‘Welcome To The Dark’ is next, and in contrast, is very tense musically, but with a soft synthesised melody and stirring lyrics, which use spoken word to create a dystopian atmosphere. The number progresses into some heavier moments, with overdriven guitar and more synth moments. It’s in a minor modal musically with a hypnotic underlying rhythm.
‘The Trip’ can be described as an energetic improvised Classic Psychedelic Rock jam, with synth and lead complimenting each other; a foot tapping and head moving song. It is easy to get lost in this one, as I did. The vocals and lyrics are very dreamy, and it is a lot of fun!
Finally, ‘Merry Go Round’. The beginning is quite different, with chiming bells and swirling synths before the drums and guitars kick in, introducing the vocals. It has quite a melancholy and laid back feel at first, which evolves and changes into something more urgent. A nice end to a nice album.
Generally I found this album very easy to listen to, in fact it was so easy to listen to, I played it several times before starting this review. I am not saying there is no depth, rather it captivates and keeps the interest going with the subtle changes in style, musicality and rhythm. Although the track names, lyrics, and vocal style are a bit trippy, it actually feels like a work of art that could be appreciated whatever the state of mind, and that emotional but unpredictable lead guitar style that dominated the entire album left an impression. I think if I have any criticism, it would be that it sometimes felt a bit lacking in direction and even slightly self-indulging, which is understandable as a solo project. But if you can tap into the overall feel then it does captivate, which is why I will give this a 8.5/10.
01. Cracks In Space
02. The Rabbit Hole Of Time
03. The Light Of Perfection
04. Station In The Sky
05. The Maze
06. Times Gone By
07. Welcome to the Dark
08. The Trip
09. Merry Go Round
Dave Hulatt – Everything
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