Full of prog flourishes and earnest lyrics makes Lost In The Ghost Light everything we could have wanted from a Tim Bowness concept album. Wyndham Wallace reviews.

“You’re locked in worlds of yesterday… and this is where you’ll stay,” sings Tim Bowness, half of underrated art-poppers No-Man, early on his fourth solo release. One could suggest the words are self-referential – Bowness’s slightly mannered methodology rarely varies, after all – but they’re directed at the subject of this concept album, a fading rock star from a fictional band called Moonshot who seem to have peaked in the buckskin-jacketed Seventies (the album’s cover is a poignant imagining, by I Monster’s Jarrod Gosling, of their dressing room, complete with obligatory bottle of red wine, signed LPs, framed gold disc and a jar of Age Defying Moisturiser.)

But though Tim Bowness continues to mine an earnest musical realm that brings to mind the solo work of Japan’s former members, he’s allowed his prog-rock impulses to come to the fore in deference to his subject matter.

He’s helped in this by Porcupine Tree’s Colin Edwin and Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, especially on the lengthy Moonshot Manchild and the lush, Dark Side Of The Moon luxury of You’ll Be The Silence. Bowness’ strength has often been his lyrics, however, and there are touching glimpses of the band’s history in lines like “You went on stage together/ But you failed to find the art” and “The flashing lights are blinding/ You’ve never felt so old.”