Tilt is the project from Fish alumni Steve Vantsis, Robin Boult and Dave Stewart, plus guitarist Paul Humphreys and singer P J Dourley.
The group released an EP Million Dollar Wound way back in 2009, but Hinterland represents their first full-length album.
It begins with the dreamy opening of “Assembly”, electronic atmospherics and an understated vocal slightly reminiscent of 80s Tears for Fears, except instead of breaking out into a big soaring chorus it leads into an instrumental section built around a spiralling guitar figure. “Hinterland”, in contrast, is a barrelling hard rocker with something of The Who in their prime about it.
“Against the Rain” and “Growing Colder” are emotive slow-burning ballads, while “No Superman” and the later “Bloodline” are groove-rockers build around Steve Vantsis’s propulsive bass riffs. “Strontium Burning” has a hook that gets buried in your head. The album ends with the book-end of “Disassembly”, the long dreamy opening echoing the opener before building into a lavish soaring ballad that brings the album to powerful close.
Steve Vantsis has been the main co-writer on Fish’s recent albums, and there are places with a similar feel to those records, especially when it takes the riff and groove driven approach reminiscent of parts of “13th Star”. But P J Dourley is a quite different sort of singer to Fish; his soulful vocals have the occasional hints of Peter Gabriel and Lou Gramm.
This is a record that’s been a long time in the making, but it’s proved worth the wait. Tilt