Michael Woodman – Psithurism: Album Review

Thumpermonkey’s Michael Woodman goes solo with something a bit different, calling into place the expression ‘expect the unexpected’.

Release date: 6th August 2021

Label: Believers Roast

Format: CD / Digital

PROG magazine called Psithurism “spellbinding.” Elsewhere we picked up on the wonderful description of “Murder ballads with funny counting.” In a bid to try to offer an original opinion, our take is that Psithurism suggests something occasionally hinted at in the wildly oscillating Thumpermonkey catalogue.

Five tracks promise a fusion of 70s progressive influences with 80s Scott Walker and weird fiction. Sacramento opens proceedings with a sparse and stark arrangement. An example of when not to play and packed with space as the guitar & voice arrangement comes and goes, I’m suddenly reminded of the work of Peter Hammill. It provides a brief aperitif, segueing into the heftier and more intricate presence of Petrichor. Yes here’s where the 70s progressive influences make their presence felt, divebombing strobe-like in and out of the angular rhythms.

In itself, Petrichor provides the prequel to a final quarter hour where the contrast of light and shade finds Cloned In Error’s shimmering mid section interrupting another quirky off kilter arrangement.

The Levitant and Seachange both suggest and confirm the impression that Mr Woodman is just about warming up. The former drifts in an easy and languid fashion, visiting pastoral and dreamy landscapes. The areas where the Floyd might have gone on one of their more relaxed days. The latter is a bolder proposition. Heading seemingly down one channel only to be diverted elsewhere, led by ever changing guitar figures and bouts of jarring but controlled aggression.

A recording that succeeds in applying the principle of ‘too much of a good thing leaves one wanting less’, Psithurism is a fascinating glimpse at another side of Michael Woodman.

Here’s the official video for Petrichor:

And while we’re on – news of a couple of live shows. With Kavus around, it should be a cracking double bill.

Michael Woodman: Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / Bandcamp

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