Guitarist Tom McCarthy holds down a day gig as a musician with the Blue Man Group but found the time to record this solo venture in 1999. It’s a moody, waterlogged effort, punctuated by a single acoustic episode, and basically a vehicle for McCarthy’s bravado fusion playing. The guitarist claims influences from Hendrix to Coltrane, and touches of Miles’ dark, electric funk-pop up here and there, but from the first track on, it’s apparent that metal guitar, new-age music and prog-rock have made a deeper impression on him. “Dissolving in Orchid” may be one long power ballad solo in search of a vocalist. “Mark of Cain,” heavy with McCarthy’s distortion and wah, wail and rumble, simply reinforces the impression. Tunes like “Still Place” try to break the pattern; McCarthy reaches for the acoustic here and tries to get something going with keyboardist Jamie Edwards. They do offer a two-minute break from the dank guitar skilz showcase that is Surfacing, but despite the welcome shift in mood, it’s rarely more than atmosphere.
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