I bet Tim Burgess never thought when he started writing solo album number five, that when it was released he’d be hosting twitter listening parties for music fans all over the world with no live gigs on the horizon. Although it’s a weird world we live in today, there’s something strangely comforting and upbeat about ‘I Love The New Sky’.

There’s a psych-pop feel to recent single ‘Empathy For The Devil’ with its pianos, violins and glorious harmonies, whereas ‘Sweetheart Mercury’ has a Belle and Sebastian bounciness to its breezily optimistic mood and ‘Comme D’Habitute has a spoken word weirdness in its choruses in the same vein as Sparks, before the Beach Boys-esque melodies pop their heads around the corner again for the big end.

The whole album has the classic pop sensibilities of the 60s Laurel Canyon songwriting scene transported to an 80s electro-pop club with huge sweeping chord changes and a psychedelic wooziness, which doesn’t so much stick a toe into the experimental electronic world, but goes full in with a Blackpool Pleasure Beach grabber and manages to pull out the prized toy from the chaos.

Burgess is helped along by a variety of musicians including his partner, Nik Void from the brilliant electronic duo Factory Floor, one of the most underrated guitarists around in the form of Charlatans guitarist Mark Collins, as well as famed musical collaborator thighpaulsandra who has previously worked with Julian Cope and Spiritualized amongst others. There’s a raft of collaborators from the world of art rock, improvisation, and folk too, yet Tim’s songwriting retains its distinctive charm throughout.

‘The Warhol Me’ has a gorgeous droning piano and guitar sound to it, as the whole thing builds with squalling guitars into a noise-fuelled wig out at the end, then there’s the majestic delicate harmonies of ‘Timothy’ with its chorus of “oh those songs, make us strong”, with Burgess musing on the power of music to overcome pretty much anything life throws at you. The optimistic nature continues on ‘I Got This’ with Burgess asserting “I am doubting, all the doubters who have doubted me” and “the future is friendly, just keep on climbing and one day you’ll be flying”.

‘I Love The New Sky’ isn’t indie, it’s not electro, not rock or pop either, it’s some weirdly wonderful concoction of genres which Burgess has moulded into shape, slapping together the whole bar of multi-coloured plasticine strips into one glorious mass, making a new colour in the process.

As he recently stated, in lockdown times he may be becoming known as the ‘twitter listening party guy’ with his inspired album playbacks uniting music fans across the globe, so ‘I Love The New Sky’ serves as a flashing lighthouse beam to all music fans out there, that there’s so much more to Burgess than people give him credit for. A talented songwriter in his own right, ‘I Love The New Sky’ is a timely reminder of Burgess’ own musical genius.

I Love The New Sky: Out 22 May 2020 (Bella Union)

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From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.