ToneZone Records (label)
04 October 2021 (released)
16 October 2021
Any guitar in the hands of a master can sound great. However, each different guitar will shape the way that player expresses themselves. Fender Telecasters tend to pull the twang out of a player, Gibson SGs and Les Pauls summon heavy rock. When George Harrison picked up a 12-string Rickenbacker in 1964, it awoke an entirely new way of playing. Ricks, in particular, the doubled string variety created this sound that has since been known as “jangly”. The Byrds Roger McGuinn expanded on George's mystical ringing tone and pretty soon everyone was clamouring for the guitar that in many ways defined the sound of that magical decade. Johnny Marr repurposed it for the 80s vibe and Tom Petty channelled The Byrds to deliver his revivalist sound. On the Wikipedia page for the Rickenbacker 360/12 alongside these rock legends, you'll find Marty Wilson-Piper of Australian stalwarts The Church.
Wilson-Piper played guitar for the post-punk neo-psych outfit from 1980 to 2013, as well as releasing several solo records, and contributing to alternative group All About Eve and progressive rock band Anekdoten. His latest endeavour Arktik Lake is an inter-continental affair with Marty contributing his vocals and guitars alongside partner Olivia Wilson-Piper's ethereal backing vocals from Cornwall, England and Porto, Portugal. The rest of the gang (Tony Rumble – guitars; DC – bass guitar; Nigel Macara – drums and percussion) recorded in Sydney, Australia. From across the world, the group complied the four tracks on the Shimmer EP which take Wilson-Piper's dreamy psych guitar which he trademarked with The Church and shifts the rhythms to a modern rock feel.
The warm happy jangle of a Rickenbacker greets you on the outset of the title track. Marty finds where the road meets the cosmos with Olivia's backing vocals giving the chorus that angelic lift. Minor chords bring a contemplative tone to the song's rocketing climax. 'Promises We Made' floats on hanging chords, looking back down that highway at the decisions that got them there. The spaghetti western instrumental 'Hombre' shows off the band's textural mastery. Tremolo guitar glistens over swerving slide guitar and the steady drum gallop of a long trek across the plains. The song would feel at home next to master Ennio Morricone, modern practitioners Federale, or on the soundtrack of a Vince Gilligan saga set in Albuquerque. The EP concludes with the swaying evening dock suite 'Misty Shore'. A prickly harpsichord-like synth trades off with Wilson-Piper's easy croon as string pads fill in the entrancing soundscape. A happy na-na-na refrain gives way to the band as they score the final push over the horizon.
The Shimmer EP showcases Wilson-Piper's easy neo-psychedelic vibe through songs that feel simple but teem with interesting modulations and choices that boost them beyond simple pop-rock. The most intriguing track being the transportive cowboy piece 'Hombre'. Hopefully, there is more to come in that vein and was not simply a one-off experiment.