It has been a lengthy journey for John Sloman, once seen as a rising star, after stints with Uriah Heep and Gary Moore, along with his unique voice and wide range, his talents on multiple instruments, his songwriting, and his looks then that drew comparisons to Robert Plant. But after 1989’s Disappearances Can Be Deceptive solo album wasn’t a huge hit, not much was heard from John for years until he resumed making solo albums in 2003, mainly by himself. One thing that is evident on John’s latest creation, Two Rivers (on Red Steel Music) is that there is no one like him. John does write formatted pop-rock songs, or produce with any commercial approach in mind. There’s no simple 10 tracks of riff / verse/ chorus/ verse/ chorus/ solo/ chorus/ fadeout. What you get on John’s journey in time dealing with his childhood and past (I haven’t grasped all the lyrics, so I can’t be precise on the entire concept) is a very atmospheric, very different type of album. everything flows together nicely with John often having a few words between songs or during the intros. It makes more sense and more enjoyable listening to the whole album as opposed to picking out single songs. But, if I had to pick out highlights – the title track, “Scenes From An Old Biscuit Tin”, “Charing Cross Moon”, and “Walking Along The Taff”. Much of what is enjoyable about this album is listening to the stories John tells in the songs. Again, if you’re expecting any kind of conventional rock type album, this is not it – this is 14 storytelling tracks put to John’s unique musical approach. This is all acoustic guitars, piano, bass ,vocals [lots], choirs [all John], keyboards, etc….. no electric guitars, no big solos or riffs. Influences of Zappa, acoustic Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd.
Best listened to on headphones -with an open mind, without any ‘rock’ expectations, and enjoy the journey. Love the artwork, btw, and am told the packaging is excellent (might we see a vinyl release?) .
Red Steel plans to follow up Two Rivers with a compilation containing tracks from John’s previous solo albums to be titled Conspectus.
To pre-order: https://music.apple.com/album/two-rivers/1607563545