Edison’s Children came about when Marillion bassist Pete Trewavas met crew member Eric Blackwood on the band’s Los Trios Marillos Tour in 2006. They clicked and began writing music together, but with both so busy with the day job it’s taken them six years of sporadic recording to complete their debut album. Blackwood’s other work as a special effects technician in Hollywood is telling: In The Last Waking Moments has a cinematic sound and sci-fi theme.
It tells the – possibly metaphorical – story of a man who chases mysterious lights in the sky, is seemingly abducted by aliens and then returned much later, a changed man. Musical and lyrical elements are repeated and developed throughout, and the interstellar vibe evokes Pink Floyd, even Hawkwind in parts, yet rarely Marillion.
Opener Dusk trails in with stark percussion and slowly evolves into an insistent, minor-key tune, Blackwood’s vocals conveying an already broken heart. Lights shine from the sky in Fracture – a tribal beat kicking in with a three-note synth figure that recurs through the album – before Fallout Of The 1st Kind draws the character and listener in like a tractor beam. This is all wrapped up in some beautifully subtle playing and atmospheric programming from both artists.
Trewavas contributes odd, ethereal backing vocals to Blackwood’s everyman lead, and his lilting acoustic guitar drives A Million Miles Away (I Wish I Had A Time Machine); it’s easily the catchiest song on here despite its theme of loss and the low, breathy melody. Outerspaced is a delighfully deranged psych-rock freak-out with a manic, distorted lead vocal from Trewavas (‘Welcome to our earth…/Knock back a few of these/We’ll get intergalactic pissed/Come on, can’t we all just get along!’).
The ‘Other’ Other Dimension is one of the most unsettling pieces of music this reviewer’s heard for a while. There’s a recurring character called The Doctor, who’s obviously up to no good with the protagonist. His voice whispers menacingly throughout a tune that’s a mad scientist’s lab made music - odd time signatures, dissonant riffs and filtered guitars bubbling like noxious test tubes. The climactic 15-minute track The Awakening brings all the strands together thrillingly (and features one Steve Hogarth, billed as ‘Town Choir Vox’), before the sparse, haunting closer Fallout (Of The 4th Kind) appears to drop the character, dazed and disoriented, back at the top of the album.
Moody, engaging and beautifully executed, In The Last Waking Moments has a musical core strong enough to support such a dramatic, sci-fi concept. Edison’s Children bear strange fruit all the sweeter for the wait.