ALBUM REVIEW: Lewis Jack Inman – ‘FLY’


Oh wow, a whole album of music from Lewis; it’s like a whole heap of birthdays. To be fair Lewis has a habit of releasing EPs, but the last album I reviewed was back in 2020.

I always seem to start my review of his music by saying that you always expected the unexpected from Lewis, and this is no exception to this rule. As can be heard from the first track ‘Glow’ which takes a decidable dreamy sound. That is until the laid back guitar solo The whole has something of late 60s’ psychedelic pop thing going on And it’s richly beautiful, the sort of sound you can sink into it, bliss.

‘Smiles Cost (Tears Are Free)’ goes off on a slight tangent. Yep it’s still that, and forgive me for this please, New Psychedelia sound of the 80s’. Raw R’n’B, fuzzy guitar, heavy on the beat. It reminds me of one of my fav New Psychedelia bands from way back then The Playn Jayn (you like raucous psych with a dual lead vocal, check them out), in a very good way.

This sort of sonic theme comes with the next track ‘Photograph’. But it’s taken forward into the now. Big big chorus, huge dancey beat, unexpected drops into something more downbeat and moody. It sounds as wide as the sky. With the most earwormy tune.

A while back I said that a single from Lewis sounded a bit REM, and so it is with ‘So Low’. Yeo it has those intensely strummed guitars, that slightly swampy southern feel. But it also has the most joyful sound, until the mood changes that is. Yummy.

A change of mood, a change of sound ‘Counting Sheep’. A scratchy itchy intro and then it bursts into something more rocky, more muscular. It’s one of those ‘where in the hell does this sit musically, don’t know, don’t care’ songs. It switches from big guitars to strangely happy chorus, to throbbingly dark anxious passages. It sometimes goes as close as you could to metal without being metal as I’ve heard. ‘Lost Souls’ continues this heavy/almost poppy thing but differently. Yes, there’s those big guitars but this time combined with something scratchy, something off-kilter. Something that reminds me of Big Audio Dynamite, a bit at least.

The thing about this album is that it compels you to go onto the next track, it’s like a musical journey. So let’s travel on.

A throbbing scratchy guitar (could be acoustic, could be not) forms the backbone of ‘Hypnotised’. An intense claustrophobic track that builds to the sound of a guitar being tortured with metal implements; played inside a metal pipe. It is, as the title might suggest, hypnotising.

Oh wow, a sudden switch ‘I Can Your Afraid’ takes that darkly happy sound and turns it into something poppy. Harmonies, piano, pop-rock guitar. It’s all so wonderfully wrong but so gloriously right.

Time for a guitar driven rock out, you got it. ‘Shortcut’ is driven by a dtorming guitar that throbs, that hits. But hey, there’s this kind of tuneful overlay in the vocals.

Now, don’t get fooled. ‘Don’t Stare’ may start off sounding like some sort of alt-folk singer/songwriter song – and it’s wonderful don’t get me wrong – but it bursts into something harder, something crunchier. Only to fall back to quieter. Yes, this is one of those quiet/loud tracks but it’s not alt-rock, it’s somehow still something singer/songwriter.

Now I know Lewis is fond of a crunchy guitar and here we are; ‘Pulse’ is built around the pulse of a raw guitar. I say pulse, when it gradually gets more way out, more fuzzed. And over this is, unexpectedly, this tuneful vocal. Yes, I guess we could call this garage-y or even psychy. But then again not. You see it sounds like something from the soul, something really full of emotion.

And we close with ‘Fade’ a big song in the style of something like a 70s’ ballad. You see the core of this is an acoustic and piano, bursts of fuzzy guitar set back in the mix, something that sounds like an electronic organ. My helpful friend described this as sounding a bit cheesy, but then she’s not as keen on big 70s’ ballads as me. And yes, there are hints of the psychedelic.

Here in this song Lewis explains and explores the act of taking some time to see where you are in words that sound all too personal. It asks the question how did I get where I am. And it’s all so beautiful, it tugs at your heartstrings, and I’m not afraid to admit it left me with a tear in my eyes.

‘FLY’ sounds and feels like a journey, both musically and emotionally. A lot of the songs have this dark and happy feel, a built in contradiction, an internal conflict. And there’s an arc in the sound of the individual songs that seems to explore how you can do that. ‘Fade’ lyrically seems to address this exploration; so it fits the arc of the album.

This album is the sound of a musician and writer exploring the limits, pushing the envelope, and doing it brilliantly. Every song is compelling, every song surprises and intrigues. It compels, it mesmerises, it tests you, it puts you through it emotionally. It is so beautiful it hurts.


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Frank is the website guy for Local Sound Focus. Takes a lot of photos and loves writing about new music.