He may be just 37, but Tim Wheeler is a veteran of the music biz. He first came to our attention 20 years ago thanks to a startling debut album (1977) with his band Ash, and in the intervening two decades the music he has released has had far more peaks than troughs.
Now, he’s finally getting around to releasing a solo album and Lost Domain is up there with his best work he’s yet done.
A deeply personal offering, this intimate collection focuses on his relationship with his late father especially in those latter years when his dad suffered from dementia.
On the face of it, an album partly inspired by the pain of watching a loved one succumb to Parkinson’s Disease, is of limited appeal, so it says something for Wheeler’s songwriting prowess that these songs burrow their way into your heart.
Yes, there’s considerable pain and sadness in his well-chosen lyrics, but there’s so much that celebrates life, the father-son bond and the sense that although we all die, part of us lives on in those that are left behind.
All that is evident on the album’s wonderful, stirring centrepiece, ‘Vigil’, when he sings: “You are not alone/ My mother, my sister, my two brothers/ We can live on and support each other.”
It’s a beautiful work to remind us of blood-ties and the transience of time and although death is at its heart, it manages to be utterly life-affirming too.
Key tracks: ‘Vigil’; ‘End of an Era’