By Graham Chalmers
Ashley Reaks: Power Failure (album).
Artist, musician, poet, provocateur, everyman - the ever-changing, multi-talented Ashley Reaks is the closest thing to a genius I’ve come across in Harrogate in the past 20 years.
It’s no surprise that his latest album sees another change of direction.
The only things he brings from past releases on this wide-ranging collection of nine new tracks are his cast of collaborators and a penchant for big hooks, thoughtful lyrics and dark humour.
Once again produced in Harrogate’s Active Audio Studios by Dan Mizen, who also plays drums on one track, Power Failure is a gigantic melting pot of world music, rave-era dance, post-punk, 80s pop, ambient sounds, spoken word and occasional Steve Reich-like minimalism.
It takes a big man to hold this potentially unwieldy mix together but Ashley Reaks is such a man.
Simultaneously sly and loud, tracks such as Egg To Worm To Fly and Karma Bonfire burst with life and ideas.
Blessed with guest vocalists such as Lucy Mizen, Power Failure booms with great grooves and great tunes throughout. Stunning.
Simply put, Ashley Reaks is a one-man Meltdown Festival.