Band: Tim Brown
Band Website: www.atimbrown.co.uk
Label: Independent Release
Release Date: 2012
Keyboard solo albums tend to come in a couple of different styles. There are those that are a group of songs where the keyboardist plays as many different keyboards as possible in as many styles as possible. Then there are those that are spacey Tangerine Dream affairs. In either case it’s sometimes hard to hear a specific style. That’s not the case with Tim Brown’s solo keyboard work. Having worked in bands through the 80’s and early 90’s, Pleasure Strike is his second solo effort and it displays a very unique and specific keyboard style. Not that he doesn’t do what I’ve described earlier; it’s just that his musical approach revolves more around his technique, which is quite admirable.
The ten instrumental tracks on Pleasure Strike are anywhere from three to six minutes in length with most hovering around the four minute mark. They’re mostly up-tempo each displaying a distinctive vibe. Even though each of the songs is its own composition, Brown’s approach with his keyboards is to maintain a similar lead keyboard sound while employing lots of supporting sounds. That support could be strings, choirs, or just processed synth sounds. The songs, while relatively straight forward structure wise, do meander about allowing for some rather interesting twists and turns. I really like Brown’s approach to his craft. There is a certain cinematic feel to many of these tunes especially on the slower tracks like “Drifting with Spirits” [4:27] or “Mysterious Obelisk” [6:25] where he uses a lot of lower register synth sounds to establish a very dramatic mood and then employs all manner of buzzing saw-tooth lead lines to balance it out. More than anything what I like about Brown’s approach is his restrained production and arrangements. His compositions aren’t overly busy or layered allowing for his playing and specific sound approach to rise to the surface.
To my ears Pleasure Strike is easily one of the better solo keyboard efforts I’ve heard. I liked it’s consistency for one thing, but perhaps more than that I liked the way Brown incorporated some rather pleasing keyboard synth pads and settings in some very melodic compositions. Keyboard fans will find much to enjoy. Well worth checking out.