Matt Stevens: Lucid

Matt Stevens: Lucid

(Cherry Red, 4/1/14)

"The Bridge"

Anyone familiar with Matt Stevens’s work in The Fierce and the Dead knows that he has chops — proggy, dynamic, high-speed chops. Come at him from his solo work and you’re familiar with his genre-shifting, pedal-looped acoustic work. His newest offering, Lucid, combines those two areas in the best possible way.

Lucid is dark. Sure, it has beautiful acoustic moments — standouts like “Street and Circus,” where things almost start to seem okay. This is a false front, a fresh coat of paint on a haunted house. Metal and prog mix in fearsome tracks like opener “Oxymoron,” an announcement that this is a different solo Stevens than ever before. “Coulrophobia,” a fear that many of us were introduced to by a certain clown-starring Stephen King novel, is as off-kilter playful as its macabre title suggests. And everything comes to a head in the 12-minute epic that is “The Bridge,” with Mahavishnu Orchestra riffs sparring with moments of Spanish-influenced guitar.

Lucid is a huge album, with guests that include Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson) on drums and Jem Godfrey (Frost) and Emmett Elvin (Chrome Hoof, Guapo) on keyboards, among others. By the same token, it covers a huge amount of ground and begs for more than one listen. Forgo the headphones and let this one shake the house.