Philosophical rock â€˜nâ€™ roll looks at the worldâ€™s ills and cures
Itâ€™s been three years since Peter Himmelman rebuffed his own doubts with the introspective The Boat That Carries Us. The disillusion displayed in the 2007 documentary Rock God gave way to a more emotionally agile life that turned obstacles into opportunities for recalibration, and found happiness in the realities that his youthful dreams of fame had spawned. On this follow-up he focuses on dialectical questions of the mind and heart, looks outward at societyâ€™s barriers and wonders how oneâ€™s thoughts and emotions create and might ultimately contribute to the resolution of the worldâ€™s problems.
The opening â€œ245th Peace Songâ€ condemns the toxic political and social atmosphere that currently dominates America, but Himmelman seeks healing in place of scapegoating; pleading for solutions rather than protesting problems. He laments fearâ€™s corrosive impact on societal bonds and advocates collective action as an antidote. At turns Himmelman can be defeated, deterministic, nihilistic and existential, noting that rich men run the world, wondering if we can even know whether meaningful decisions exist, and pitying those who coast through life without the friction that creates opportunities for redemption.
But in his heart, Himmelman is an optimist. The gospel-tinged â€œRopes or Wingsâ€ opines that bitterness and hate are choices, but that hope, kindness and mercy are always ready options. He contemplates the seemingly infinite wealth of oneâ€™s memories, and cleverly rhymes his way through the impressionistic â€œRibbon of Highway.â€ He strikes an inspirational tone that is part Springsteen and part Neil Diamond on several tracks, and the guitar playing, particularly the solo on â€œSmoke and Flames,â€ will remind you of how much you miss rock music. This album is intellectually deep and emotionally soulful, which will come as no surprise to Himmelmanâ€™s many fans. [Â©2017 Hyperbolium]