Tim Wheeler

Lost Domain

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The debut solo album from Ash frontman Tim Wheeler, Lost Domain is as heavy as it is melodious, documenting the Alzheimer's diagnosis and subsequent loss of Wheeler's father, and all of the soul searching that the event put into motion. Opening with the quietly majestic, guitar-led instrumental "Snow in Nara," Wheeler establishes a nice balance (sonically) between the deep melancholy of loss and the sweet fragility of hope early on. Lost Domain more or less happens in real time (diagnosis, illness, and death), with Wheeler serving up (in great detail) arresting images of hospital visits, pain management, heartfelt family discussions, and various other (seemingly) mundane components of end-stage care that are lent added weight by a bevy of lovely string arrangements and wistful pop melodies; the album's most powerful moment, the nearly ten-minute "Medicine," is a triumph of both style and substance. Lost Domain can be a tiring listen, but it can also be a cathartic one, but what sets it apart from other weighty pop outings from similarly suffering creative forces, is both its adherence to pop craftsmanship and a willingness to see the whole thing through. By the time Wheeler reaches a place of acceptance, the listener has as well, and while both parties may be a bit ragged, they're both better for the experience.

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