When I was 15 years old, I had the absolute pleasure of watching Dance Gavin Dance perform at Wrangler Studios, and I was completely spellbound by their performance. Easily the most impressive part of watching the show, was vocalist Tilian Pearson, nailing every single note with an unbelievable amount of ease, and having a slight boogie on stage while doing so. Fast forward 5 years, Dance Gavin Dance have put out 4 albums, nailing every single one of them to a point where people genuinely wonder how they can put out such quality music in such a short time span.
The same instance goes for Tilian’s solo project; 3 albums, 2 EP’s and a constant swarm of singles and, I can easily say that his latest effort, The Skeptic, is his most ambitious, yet most phenomenal so far. Tilian himself is known for his versatility in songwriting and overall musicianship, being one of the most talented vocalists alive as well as a multi-instrument performer. Going from Material Me, a more pure pop influenced record, to Perfect Enemy, a slower, more emotional album (Let’s all admit now that “Tug of War” is a song we have ALL cried to at least once), and now with The Skeptic, which is just as much of a push of emotions as it is a dance oriented record; and he NAILED IT!
Beginning the album with “Made of Plastic”, it automatically introduces you to Tilian’s incredible talents and provides a sweet, groovy foreshadow of what the rest of The Skeptic is about. The song in itself is also incredibly enchanting, and will continuously remind you why Tilian is one of the best musicians of our era, as well as (unfortunately) one of the most underrated. Skipping between electronic synths, guitar riffs, ambient sections and memorable melodies, it is definitely the perfect opener to an almost perfect album.
The next track that caught my attention almost immediately was the latest single released, “Hold On”. Delving into emotional territory, the lyrics touch on loss and caring for those who once cared for you in their times of trouble, and by the end of the track you’re left wondering if someone started cutting onions around you. The lyrics in itself provide an exceptional amount of emotional heaviness, and the songwriting complements the lyrics in such an outstanding manner, leaving you wondering how Tilian is such a talented multi-instrumentalist.
Successfully bringing an 80’s vibe into the album, “Blame it on Rock n’ Roll” is the one song on The Skeptic that stands on its own, yet works well with the rest of the tracks. Placing “Blame it on Rock n’ Roll” after such an emotionally heavy track like “Hold On”, allows for the perfect form of juxtaposition, keeping you guessing on whether or not the next track is going to be uplifting and delightful, or heavy and incredibly emotional. Rather than touching on a poignant topic such as “Hold On”, “Blame it on Rock n’ Roll” takes a lighter side with Rock Stars being selfish and ungrateful, bringing a bit of a light hearted touch to the album.
Throughout this entire album, Tilian proves to everyone time and time again how much of a spectacular musician he really is. Performing every instrument on the record except for Drums/Percussion (performed by engineer Kris Crummet), The Skeptic truly showcases how powerful and talented Tilian is, being an almost unstoppable force in the music industry. While criminally underrated, he is easily one of the most talented musicians on this planet today, and with The Skeptic, Tilian truly outperformed himself, as he always does. Do yourself a favour and hop onto this record as soon as it’s out, because this has to be listened to by EVERYONE.
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