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  1. Sep 19, 2015
    8
    Tim Wheeler has been writing chart topping songs since he was 16 as the frontman and chief songwriter with Irish rockers Ash. 20 years on from his first release with Ash, Wheeler releases his first solo effort, "Lost Domain", an album written during his father's failing health and subsequent death. You could not get more of a contrast to Wheeler's usual inspiration - namely, the summer,Tim Wheeler has been writing chart topping songs since he was 16 as the frontman and chief songwriter with Irish rockers Ash. 20 years on from his first release with Ash, Wheeler releases his first solo effort, "Lost Domain", an album written during his father's failing health and subsequent death. You could not get more of a contrast to Wheeler's usual inspiration - namely, the summer, young love and good times. "Lost Domain" is Wheeler's most consistent and solid output since 2004's "Meltdown". As close to a concept album as you get, the dark nature of the subject matter is reflected in the lyrics, however Tim Wheeler simply cannot write a glum tune and the vast majority of tracks have an uptempo and/or upbeat feel to them. Opener "Snow in Nara" is a beautifully chilled instrumental affair, almost a signal to say that, yes this has been tough going but we're at peace now. "End of an Era" is pure pop, driven by a piano hook that burrows into your brain. "Do you ever think of me" builds from a stripped back acoustic number up to a track drenched in orchestration filled with melody. This is a technique Wheeler uses on several tracks. "Hospital" is similar, a building track with several layers of melodies draped ontop of each other, it has several parts to it that could all have been developed into songs in their own right. "Medicine" is the center piece of the record, at 10 minutes plus it is an epic affair. Again it is a track split in several parts, essentially we have the same underlying melody but with piano, guitars, string and synths all taking the lead role at differernt points through. It sounds like something from the A-Z period of Ash and is one of the most ambitious tracks Wheeler has completed. "Vigil" alternates between a soft reflective chorus and a swirling, driving chorus soaked in strings. "First Sign of Spring" is a restrained affair while "Vapour" is another instrumental, one of my favourite tracks on the record and reminiscent of Badly Drawn Boy at his best. "Hold" is a piano based ballad and passes you by before you know it. It's one of the lesser tracks on the album but still packs an emotional punch. Title track "Lost Domain" is a pretty synth pop song in the vain of the A-Z track "True Love 1980". Closer "Monsoon" finishes things off in a way that is both sombre and uplifting at the same time. It's a track that reflects on what the writer has just gone through but looks forward to the next chapter with brightness and optimism. "Lost Domain" is a labour of love from Tim Wheeler and deserves to be heard by many more people that have gotten a hold of it up to now. This man is a pop genius and this record is well worth checking out. Expand
  2. Mar 2, 2015
    9
    At its best, this can match, if not exceed, any title in Ash's catalog. Wheeler's sense of melody turns a typical chord progression into something that seeps into your soul. It's quite consistent in terms of quality as I can't name a 'bad' song here.

    The problem comes once you are familiar enough to sing along. The concept is quite powerful (dealing with the death of a parent with
    At its best, this can match, if not exceed, any title in Ash's catalog. Wheeler's sense of melody turns a typical chord progression into something that seeps into your soul. It's quite consistent in terms of quality as I can't name a 'bad' song here.

    The problem comes once you are familiar enough to sing along. The concept is quite powerful (dealing with the death of a parent with Alzheimer's as well as and ending romantic relationship.) You get cliches, some of them could've been lifted from a middle schooler's diary. In the god-knows-why-its-the-single "Vigil", you get the repeated refrain of "You are not alone" as well as "My mother, my sister, my two brothers. We can lean on and support each other." A nice sentiment, sure, but it elicits a cringe each time.

    Regardless, one of those discs that any Ash fan would love.
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Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 7 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Dec 17, 2014
    80
    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.
  2. Classic Rock Magazine
    Dec 16, 2014
    90
    Lost Domain will leave the listener raw. [Jan 2015, p.114]
  3. Uncut
    Dec 4, 2014
    80
    Dripping with raw emotion, Tim Wheeler's solo debut is a moving memorial to his father George. [Jan 2015, p.79]