Best known for his work as the percussionist for global-goth purveyors Dead Can Dance and This Mortal Coil, Peter Ulrich launched his own solo career in 1999 with the release of Pathways and Dawns. Much of that album was a collaboration with former bandmate Brendan Perry and followed a path very similar to Dead Can Dance's lush, dark worldbeat textures. Released in 2005, Enter the Mysterium was a bit less dense, but still combined dark, brooding dream pop with ancient medieval sounds for a resoundingly heavy feel. For his third solo effort, 2013's The Painted Caravan, Ulrich has enlisted a new group of musicians working under the project name the Peter Ulrich Collaboration. While his affections for dark, ancient music remain, his sound has expanded in a number of ways. From the Celtic folk opening ballad "In This or Other Skin" to the more straightforward rock of "The Secret Gardener," Ulrich's sound has opened up considerably, using a wider range of colors than before. The Painted Caravan sounds less like a studio project and more like a big, unruly band full of personality. In addition to his own lead vocals, the album features multiple female vocalists and a variety of instruments ranging from horns to electric guitars to bagpipes. Fans of Ulrich's earlier work won't be disappointed, but this colorful and enjoyable record is a bold step forward for the artist.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger