Andy Thomas's new solo album, Wicked Dark, begins with an appropriately downcast note of confused emotions riding on a repetitive, dynamically textured riff. There are two vocalists on "Nowhere but Down," and the song creates a sense of isolation that has yet to turn into the sadness you know will come crashing down once Thomas realizes his complicity in whatever situation he's grappling with. That's followed by a grief phase, manifested in feelings of anger and resentment on "You're Not Here" and "Poor You." Examination begins with "Simple Solution," and here the former Backbeat scribe allows Dameon Merkl to deliver the most uncomfortable details in his inimitable, sepulchral near-whisper. "Further and Deeper" ends the album with a sense of spent despair and acceptance. Overall, this is a tender, pastoral meditation on loss and healing.