Dec Burke has brought his brand of class to Frost*, Darwin’s Radio and Audioplastik, and the guitar maestro’s own catalogue has built up slowly since 2010 solo debut Destroy All Monsters. While no stylistic departure, his first album for Robin ‘Cosmograf’ Armstrong’s label Gravity Dream shows Burke at the peak of his powers.
From its strident title track, Life In Two Dimensions is packed with his trademark powerful, digestible, slightly melancholy rock (the pummelling Emergency, Sister X and Sunlight). He’s got a real ear for a hook (Fly With Broken Wings; downtuned rocker Energy) and his guitar work remains dazzling (closing track Trap Door is a masterclass).
Burke’s high, sweet vocal is the weakest string to his bow, but it provides a poppy astringent to the metallic chug, and keyboards and occasional quasi-techno flourishes lend a modern neo flavour. Piano-led Fly With Broken Wings and power ballad This Time are highlights, with Paper Fortress a highly listenable take-down of our materialist culture. With Armstrong giving him the best mix of his extra-band career, Life In Two Dimensions is Burke’s strongest solo album to date.