Panic Moon is without a doubt, Andrew Foster’s most accomplished work to date. From the sweeping introduction of Kaleidescope onwards, the listener is drawn in and invited to encounter a fairground of delights. Swallows dart upon dust filled streets as Foster’s keen eye for lyrical detail and multi layered guitarmanship combine effortlessly to create a dazzling hall of mirrors. The song builds into an impassioned plea to his subject to open her eyes and explore the grand expansive landscape he creates. Kaleidescopes’s exceptional ending vanishes into the distance, taking the mesmerised listener captive in it’s wake.
Amy Watches The Stars is at once reflective, playful and beautifully expressive. This gorgeous song builds perfectly into its luxuriant chorus and has the sweeping grandeur that characterises much of this album. Foster’s intensely personal lyrics translate readily into universal themes that the listener can readily identify with.
Dark Astronaut plummets the listener into a world in which all sense of time and space have become distorted. There is a sense of unease and anticipation. Of a voyage into the unknown, approached with optimism and adventure, encouraging both song and listener to merge into one orchestral moment of grandeur. A journey dark and mysterious,very much worth making, that sets the tone of Panic Moon.
Zombie Dance- From its struttingly racous rooster of an introduction to its sleazy guitar licks, this enthusiastic call to arms is sure to gather the troops and have them up and dancing at any live performance! Carrying its own body weight in drums, this effortlessly excellent track provides a perfect change of pace in proceedings.
Foster’s voice opens on a narrative in which a man who is fighting to be understood grapples for control of his surroundings. Heavier in content and darker in style than the preceding numbers, it is nevertheless perfectly in context as the title track. The full support of the able Watchmen lends bass and drums gravitas to Foster’s own searing guitar work. Reflective, honest and powerful, the chorus packs a punch, before descending into a howling crescendo of a finale.
The intricate guitar opening weaves in and around Foster’s soulful vocals. Intensely beautiful lyrics and thoughtful, admiringly tender observations on the gentler sex make for a deliberate contrast to Panic Moon. Perfectly paced and in keeping with the feel of the album as a whole, ‘Girls’ displays Foster’s finesse for the delicate acoustic touch called for here.
Night Sky Waltz
This guitar instrumental presents a wonderful showcase for Foster’s evident talent and artistry. Demonstrating his command of the acoustic guitar, the track is all the better for being unashamedly
pared down. With a depth and quality of its own, rich tones build like rising sunlight in a forest, allowing the listener time and space to create their own images.
Stone Tape Theory
From deceptively quiet beginnings, emerges a song at once hauntingly powerful and intriguing. Foster’s vocals, initially quiet and sensitive build in powerful intensity as the track takes a leap into altogether darker territory. A strident wall of guitars build ever upwards as the track crashes towards its climatic finish. Guitars rush past like audio ghosts, trapped in time. Fosters vocals are run backwards through the mix, intriguing the listener. Dark powers beyond human understanding are alluded to as the track descends into screaming vocals, before disappearing like a banshee, unseen, into the dark.
The Heart Is No Home
A delicate, home spun song, written in collaboration with Loz Bridges of ‘Box Social’ fame. The song is notable for its gently observational lyrics, poignant and philosophical in nature and marked by Bridge’s excellent accompaniment. Unafraid to break with convention, Foster has had the courage and insight to follow his instinct both here and elsewhere on the album. And judging by the overall quality of composition and musicianship displayed on Panic Moon, he has been quite right to do so.
Review by Author Kerry McPhail
James with a Silent C
By Kerry McPhail
Available from July 2011 from www.linenpressbooks.com