Gold in the Shadow - William Fitzsimmons

In asking what I might wish to review, Buzz About's editrix referred me to, among other possibilities, William Fitzsimmon's sound byte link for "The Tide Pulls from the Moon" from his new CD, and I found myself pulled in by enchanted ears to a song compellingly layering itself like earth magic, simultaneously weaving a subtly glittering nightsky of breathy vocals, recurring understated instrumentality, and haunting lyrics inside a spell of human warmth knowledgeable of the omnipresence of death and inevitability. No more needed to be heard by this critic, Gold in the Shadow became the immediate choice, and I found myself wrapped by a ghosting memory and not so phantom-esque anticipation, until the disc actually arrived.

Well, it's even better than expected, and, seeing as how this is his fifth release, someone has, or a whole bunch of someones have, been gravely deficient in letting the rest of us know about this guy since 2005, when Fitzsimmons first appeared on the CD scene. And, lord, where to start? Imagine Nick Drake invested in Paul Simon's solemner side with Iain Matthews' sense of rhythm and a somewhat Ouspenskianly quasi-nihilistic mindset of semantics, existentialism, and poetry. Then there's the sometime element of beautiful Radiohead electronica minus the overt angsts and tendencies to jarring dissonance. Like Simon, Fitzwilliams is willing to experiment with an exquisitely knowing hand, but, here, now, and in the newer musical wrinkles, not the back catalogue. The old form is where he lives, the future is what this devotee of lyrical realism wishes to provide a seductive red carpet to - without sacrificing sideways impact.

The truly disturbing, but revelatory, factor, though, is how well the guy ices, masques, and transforms the unsettling content of his messages, creating a, to use and subtly augment one of his own song titles, "Psychaesthenia" that lays open a little-discussed, miles-deep, personal side of insight; this, dear reader, is a talent with words that infuses Wild Bill Blake back into The Lizard King…and I can't help but also infer the phantom of Robert Frost, even if only as a formative model. Thus, do not, as you listen to William Fitzsimmons, imagine that he's attempting to explain things away; he's not, he never does, it'd be false and insultingly simplistic. The redemption he only hints at, while tableau-ing in a universalist first person, lies in knowing the certainty of human weakness and the pathos of life, something this gentle warrior is not afraid to face, nor very willing to let the rest of us ignore. There are things we need to understand or at least cease avoiding.

Then, of course, there's all that gorgeous lush, semi-lush, and spare music. Man, but it's difficult to determine what to be most entranced by in Gold in the Shadow.

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