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Tim Wheeler: Lost Domain

Ash frontman offers moving tribute to late father.

Hand him a Flying V and Ash frontman Tim Wheeler has an uncanny ability to wring every last iota of emotion from any given situation. His dulcet County Down lilt and choirboy fragility can lacerate an emotional core at 50 paces, his way with a heart-swelling crescendo unsurpassed.

With this intuitive capacity for coaxing downy, back-of-the-neck-hairs aloft, Wheeler has produced a debut solo album that chronicles the dementia and death of his father, George, and the resultant record is so personal, so effecting (especially for those of us who’ve similarly lost a close family member to Alzheimer’s) that its soul-rending lyrical subject matter is only rendered endurable by the sheer beauty of its masterly musical realisation.

Exposed by stark naked piano one moment, embraced by soaring strings the next, Lost Domain will leave the listener raw. Yet Wheeler’s musical settings ultimately evoke optimism: despair may define the journey, but cathartic rebirth’s the destination. That said, the deluxe version includes a stripped-to-the-bone version of Ash’s Shining Light that, if you’re already teetering on the brink of breakdown, will most surely tip you over the edge./o:p

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 19 years, Ian stapled his first fanzine in 1977. Since misspending his youth by way of ‘research’ his work has also appeared in such publications as Metal Hammer, Prog, NME, Uncut, Kerrang!, VOX, The Face, The Guardian, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Electronic Sound, Record Collector and across the internet. Permanently buried under mountains of recorded media, ears ringing from a lifetime of gigs, he enjoys nothing more than recreationally throttling a guitar and following a baptism of punk fire has played in bands for 45 years, releasing recordings via Esoteric Antenna and Cleopatra Records.