As leader of visceral pop-Brit heroes Swervedriver, Adam Franklin drew comparisons to My Bloody Valentine and the signature mope of Creation-era burnout bands, all the while suffering the bad luck that comes with absurd record-label expectations. Toshack Highway, Franklin's ambitious side project with engineer Charlie Francis (R.E.M./ High Llamas) comes as a complete surprise, then, as not only are there no real label dramas to speak of, but noted guitarist Franklin is twiddling about in space-age, keyboard territory for the first time. The result is one of endless lackadaisical wonder and surprising beauty.
From the dizzy minimalist mumbles of "Just Landed" to the light, sing-along shuffle of "I Thought I Saw My Ship A-coming," the record teems with charming simplicity and unexpected twiddly bits -- never stopping to sound sci-fi or overtly self-conscious. It's a space-age country record, really, to subtlety soundtrack your own moon-age daydream.