PJ Bostic- Light Me On
No review of mine will due the justice this release deserves, simply because it has become personal for me. I’m transported back to a time when wonder was the word of the day and I longed to get lost in the musical passages I was listening to. Some people watched television; I watched the music as I listened and let it envelop me.
Immersion was the best way to describe it, lyrics, performance, nuances I would hear in my headphones. Things such as the stick count hit or the pick hit on the strings. Almost like an element of fantasy as I imagined watching the musicians play in my head, I was almost forced to just listen, not as a distraction but as my sole focus.
PJ Bostic aka Paul Joseph Roraback is the definition of a composer on this album. He performed every note himself, guitar, bass, vocals and oh those drum passages. Not to mention he produced, arranged and recorded the entire thing himself! The quality here is so high that I’ve had just listen and let my jaw drop at points.
So you wonder what does this sound like? An answer might be a mix of later era Rush (think Counterparts onward, with some strong homages to Permanent Waves and what came before), Porcupine Tree, perhaps Ty Tabor as well. Now don’t think “Well I don’t like Rush so I wont like this.” That is a rather narrow perspective for one because the emphasis here is on songs and believe me there are many. There aren’t any 10 minute plus songs here (one clock in at 8 but its at the end!) Everything else varies between 3-6 minutes no long noodling passages.
Album opener and title track is fluid and features some strong melody not to mention some terrific changes and deeply thought out lyrical content. Convolute and You Deserve More bring the heavier element to the party letting other tracks such as Courage to Win and Too Big for Me flesh out some of the musical interludes with bits of courage and brazen progressive goodness. All in a package that doesn’t over indulge and leave the casual listener wondering what happened.
Only once we get the album’s closer Be My Melody do we find an 8-minute bit of indulgent whimsy that just grooves. The chorus riff is one for the ages that is simply wonderful. The musical passages drive hard and demand to heard multiple times. His bass playing and drum interplay is phenomenal and is one of the tracks on this album that has me thinking back to Rush’s Permanent Waves era, no rip off here at all, but the feel and vibe strikes me deep.
The lyrical elements here are top drawer and one could only wish that other artists had the same ability that is on display here.
“Your purity is enchanting me
beneath a silver moon on a midnight beach
don't leave unless you leave with me
because my heart will break if it's all a dream.
I'd walk a million miles just to see you smile
I'd swim across the sea to hold you close to me
I'd wait a thousand years to wipe away your tears
take you home with me to be my melody.”
This was taken from Be My Melody or perhaps this bit from Love Come to Light
“Frost of heaven seal the sea
with breadth of winter angel wing
morning radiant unfold
from desert sand to crystal hold.
The hands that shaped the rose
became the victim of the thorn
the rock that bore the tree
became the subject of our scorn.”
This is just a small portion of an extremely thoughtful and well crafted lyrical element that have added to the entire experience of listening to this release. I can honestly say that I was not expecting any of this when I received this album for review. I had been chided that I might like it because of my love for a certain Canadian rock act.
If you enjoy well honed musicianship and exceptional song writing with depth and insight then don’t hesitate. Grab this gem of progressive hard rock (don’t let the prog tag deter you!!) PJ Bostic, Light Me On! Is one of the best kept secrets in music… Oh yeah, I’m biased here because I LOVE THIS!!!