Some folks love the collaborative efforts of being in a band. Others just get the urge to do things on their own. It was the later that finally caught up with Paul Cusick. After spending time as lead guitarist in a number of bands the urge became too great and he struck out on his own and created his first solo CD entitled Focal Points. The response was so positive he’s done it again and given us P’dice. Cusick is playing pretty much everything here although he does have help from two drummers including Porcupine Tree’s Gavin Harrison. Did I mention this is a concept album? Well it is, all about reflecting back on our thoughts and actions through the eyes of prejudice. In a nutshell the music here is a melodic mix that reminds me of the work of Alan Parsons mixed with Camel and a bit of Pink Floyd.
We have ten tracks on P’dice, the longest being just over eleven-minutes while the shortest is just under two. We start off with the tune “Everything” [5:01] a rocking, fast-paced tune that’s designed to get you in the mood. Cusick’s real talents aren’t on full display just yet, but as track two commences, “God, Paper Scissors” [5:24] with its soft, almost spoken intro over Peter Gabriel styled ominous synth foundation you get a better idea of the overall feel of the disc. The tune continues to build in intensity till it‘s grand climax. In some senses I’m tempted to place Cusick in the same general prog category as artists like Steve Thorne, a musical story-teller. He clearly has much to say and the lyrics allow him the pulpit to get things off his chest. The music on the other hand stretches over a wide landscape to suit the overall feeling Cusick has incorporated into his words. If it’s anger, the music rocks and is aggressive, if its despair the music reflects that. Guitar being his ‘first’ instrument so to speak, there are plenty of great lead lines sprinkled throughout, but they’re rarely so dominant as to distract. While much of the music has a somewhat hesitant or even somber tone each instrument is inserted judiciously help convey the composer’s feelings.
I’m not hearing any kind of sophomore slump with Paul Cusick’s second release. P’dice is a very strong set of tunes. If you are a fan of any of the artists mentioned above I’m quite sure you’ll find much to enjoy here. The music on P’dice is melodic enough to get you humming along and yet is eclectic enough to keep you guessing. It’s a nice combination.