People often strive to find the meaning of lyrics, songs or albums so that they can better understand what the artist is saying. Sometimes people craft some delusional meaning and we get an “In The Air Tonight”-like rumor that lasts for decades. We need more people to find their own meaning in music.
As the self-proclaimed “Bastard-Child of Jimi Hendrix and Boba Fett,” Lowell, Massachusetts’ beaming beacon of originality comes in the form of rock experimentalist Ian James. His raw, sometimes minimalistic sound is sure to deter the non-believers, perhaps even frighten them. But for those who can see beyond the Top 40 charts, there is a gem in the rough here, longing to be uncovered.
James’ release, Grand Delusions, will pick you up, move you to the edge of your seat, test your audible fortitude and dunk you in a baptism of honest experimentation. Now it does need to be mentioned, for the faint opinionated, if you’re looking for a pretty voice, might we suggest Susan Boyle; if you’re looking for mundane repetitive rock, might we suggest anything Green Day has released in the last decade. But for those willing to hear something new and fun, please pay attention.
Grand Delusions casts a haze of anti-conformity upon music with its release. Not in a rebellious, anti-social DAMN THE MAN, kind of way, but more of an “I’m going to do what I’m going to do” fashion. For that, I applaud it. From “Bleached In Sunshine” through “Heavens Gate” James stays well within his sound and outside of easy. His voice is off the beaten path of anything most would consider “usual rock,” but where most would argue this a flaw, I say it is a blessing. I’d challenge you to think Iggy Pop and/or Lou Reed. He’s not trying to recreate John Mayer, he’s being himself. Instrumentally, the array of sounds is sure to please. Ranging from funky rock to electronic rock, Delusions is rich with sound; most notably “Ersatz.” The track comes in at just over two and a half minutes of distorted funk-backed jam style rock.
Ian James challenges the musical constructs that are commonly considered “normal”. He challenges the artist’s mind with each chord and tempts the palate with each beat. His sound exemplifies that the “Grand Delusions” we all face are, perhaps, in what we consider mainstream. It feels as though he pushes you to consider that the delusions are in everything we consume on the “mainstream” level. But that’s just me and that’s the meaning I find within Grand Delusions.