I love it
when I listen to an album with absolutely no expectations, and I'm completely
taken by it. Tim Bowness' new solo album "Abandoned Dancehall Dreams" is a
moody, groovy, spine- tingling album of sonic wonder and beautiful, eerie
soundscapes. Its melancholy is gorgeously perfect, and utterly enthralling.
Bowness is the vocalist for the band No-man, made famous by collaboration with
Steven Wilson. The latter and many other artists are involved in this work,
honestly too many to mention. Reading the list of contributors, the sound of
this album becomes pretty clear. An electronic foundation of programming and
effects is but one of the layers found here, as violins, flowing bass, and
soaring guitars all combine to form a dark contrasting environment in which
Bowness works. That is one of the biggest impressions I get from this album, as
Bowness seems to like really slow, bass driven compositions which he can then
augment with brilliant melodies using some non-standard instrument. It's a
strategy that works beautifully.
lyrical content is clearly part and parcel with the music. The two mix
organically on a level that few ever achieve. "Abandoned Dancehall Dreams", in
my view, is an ode to lost dreams and the frustration with not being able to
achieve what you set out to do in life. Yet, somehow, it's also about the forced
smiles and perceived happiness that we conjure in response to our abandonment of
our deepest desires. The melancholy bulldozer within this album pushes this
story into your mind with great finesse and skill.
high points and low points here, but far more of the former. My favorites
include "The Warm-Up Man Forever", "Smiler at 50", and "Smiler at 52" (probably
my favorite) with its clear electronic beat. Honestly, though, I really like
every song on this album, and even this album's cover is right up my alley with
its quaint, retro style. Tim Bowness has really impressed me with this
organically melancholy, emotional album. Its blunt flow and catchy choruses are
so far the biggest surprise for me this year.