“Wonders Of The Invisible World” by Guitarist Darren Michael Boyd
If the title is any indication, Darren Michael Boyd’s new album- Wonders Of The Invisible World -is a fantastical analogy for anger, and the deeply personal. Released a year or so after Boyd’s initial solo effort, Lifting The Curse, the Ottawa native has produced an arguably more polished, professional album that still retains his signature fire. Each of the tracks on Wonders Of The Invisible World feel like critical moments in an unproduced film, the album arguably showing itself to have a musical three-act structure.
The first half of the album sports music that is deceptively cheery, albeit with a slightly sinister edge courtesy of the bass. Tracks such as ‘Earth Pads’ and ‘Night of the Neurotoxins’ sport an enthusiastic electric guitar in place of a typical singer, allowing the listener to draw their own interpretation and ideations to an old-school rock song without typical vocalization. Then the album takes a turn for the melancholic with ‘Making a Homuculus’, conspicuously the fourth track on the record. This is the turning point; when suddenly the premonitory bass gives way to a waif-like cry piercing the background of the music. Add a Gothic-styled keyboard and ambient sound effects, in addition to a softened version of the guitar, and you can see where this is going. This is the part of the story where the protagonist falls…
In real life, Darren Michael Boyd fell too. A celebrated Canadian guitarist who worked with the likes of Calico Cooper, Emily Dolan, Black Ju-Ju, and Famous Underground, Boyd was beginning to experience widespread success when a life-altering accident practically stole away his passion, and his success. The painful aftermath that followed, along with a strenuous road to recovery was the source of Boyd’s first solo album – Lifting The Curse. He wrote, produced, and performed all of the tracks himself, with the exception of including Dolan on one song. The success the album enjoyed resulted in Boyd’s second solo release, Wonders, arguably expanding upon the autobiographical themes he explored in his debut.
As anyone knows, taking a personal approach as a public performer can be a risky proposition. Many artists affiliated with big and independent music labels have experienced varying degrees of success pursuing such an endeavor, the concept of the overshare a common criticism regardless of overall reception. In the case of Boyd, it’s clear he doesn’t care and that irreverence is insurance for the sake of his audience. The lack of a lead singer in any part of Wonders is proof enough Boyd is approaching such methodologies his own way.
MORE ON DARREN MICHAEL BOYD: https://www.darrenboyd.com/
Despite the album’s simple, technical construction, one can’t help but feel an epic sweep when listening to the entirety of Wonders. It may have to do with knowledge about Boyd’s personal life and accident. It may also have to do with the ingenious way Boyd alters the same group of instruments in any given track. Whereas many unaffiliated with the craft that goes with successful rock-and-roll artists might assume there’s only so much one can do with an electric guitar, a bass, a keyboard, and a pair of drums, Boyd proves just the opposite. Part of the fun of listening to the entirety of Wonders Of The Invisible World is realizing Boyd as a solo artist, with just his second album under his belt, is only getting started.