Having recently reviewed the magnificent Scaramanga Six, I was sent a link to the new audio-visual project by Shatner main man, Jim Bower. As the Scara’s Paul Morricone has played with Shatner, it seemed a good idea to explore ‘Life Support’. Clearly, this has been a labour of love for Bower; ten tracks, each with an accompanying video, one released each month until December 2021. The loose concept is an environmental journey “from apathy to activism”. So, not Ramones, then? No, but we have room at RPM to embrace a variety of music, as long the quality is high.

Which it is. For fans of the Scaramanga Six, yes, and anyone with an ear for a tune and a story. Shatner often sounded, to these ears, like a relative of Chris Catalyst of Eureka Machines. And if Chris wrote a concept album, it could sound like this. ‘When David Bowie Died’ is a case in point, a subject Chris has written about. Things have, indeed, been unsettlingly weird since then.

‘Sun Will Rise’ seems written from the point of view of a conspiracy theorist; “I’ve got the right to believe what I like”. ‘Wrong’ is the reply to the keyboard warrior; “I’m sure you found a Facebook group who totally agree with you”.

‘All You Need Is Time’ laments the time wasted, while trying to provide for the future. The eternal conundrum of work/play balance? “We’ll skip through fields, sea air we’ll breathe, on statutory days of leave”.

‘Can Of Worms’ sees the protagonist using silence as a shield, rather than confronting the disturbed ideas of other people. ‘Life Support’ pleads with their partner to save them, to make life worthwhile; “You’re my life, so be there, be my health care, hold my hand”.

Lyrically, not easy listening, but it bears fruit if you’re ready for it. The music is lightly psychedelic in parts, which suits the hypnotic nature of the themes. Half-dreamed, half-remembered? For fans of the aforementioned Scaramanga Six, Chris Catalyst, Mansun/Paul Draper. A bold, but ultimately satisfying project.

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Author: Martin Chamarette