On the back of a heavenly cloud of harmonizing tones which seem to have no origin, we’re led down an eerie but entirely melodic path into thick sonic forestry, the light string play of one Mike Dekleva serving as our only lantern amidst the darkness.
This is “Love Finds a Way,” the closing track on his four-song EP Psychedelia, and although it’s preceded by some incredible chills in the equally textured “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,” there’s something very unique about this particular selection from Dekleva’s 2018 release. The title cut here expedites the grooves and puts tone ahead of any pop hooks while “Miguel’s Last Stand” throttles us with violent adrenaline sourced as much from the drums as it is the guitar parts, but in “Love Finds a Way,” these additional elements are presented to us in a half-muted state, forcing all of the attention in the room onto the fire our leading man is starting on the fretboard. Mike Dekleva is getting back to the roots of the modern guitar virtuoso model in Psychedelia, and definitely sounding like one of the best players in his class along the way.
There’s a lot of tension as we ascend through the initial bars of “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” that never finds the catharsis that the title cut in Psychedelia is built around, but nevertheless, I think the two songs have more in common on an aesthetical level than any other pairing on this record does. When juxtaposed beside one another, I think these tracks exhibit the multidimensionality of Dekleva’s approach to arranging without overstating any one particular theme in his style of attack which, by all critical accounts, is pretty difficult to pull off.
The blistering, Randy Rhodes-style solos are replaced with elements of surrealism in “Miguel’s Last Stand” and “Love Finds a Way,” as if to tease how anthemic the two songs could be in a live setting where Dekleva could truly come undone before the crowd in the best way possible. Other than starting the EP off with “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” instead of the title track, there isn’t a thing I would change about Psychedelia; it’s got strong flow, a startling array of stylizations and a handful of grooves I don’t see myself forgetting anytime soon.
I was just introduced to the music of Mr. Mike Dekleva recently, but having been a guitarist for the better part of my life, I would be lying if I said that this record didn’t immediately speak to me as being incredibly accessible, and more importantly than that, evocative in ways that simplistic pop/rock EPs could never be, regardless of who’s sitting in the producer’s chair.
Dekleva unleashes one heck of a mighty beast in Psychedelia – one that would appeal to metal fans as much as it would hard rockers, I should add – and I can’t wait to see and hear the kind of destruction it’s going to bring forth in the near future.
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