Power of Metal.dk Review

Tim Bowness
Abandoned Dancehall Dreams
Style: Progressive Rock
Release date: 8 July, 2014
Playing time: 78:42


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.

Tim 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.

Bowness' 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.

There are 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.


Disc 1:
01. The Warm-Up Man Forever (4.06)
02. Smiler At 50 (8.19)
03. Songs Of Distant Summers (5.02)
04. Waterfoot (4.14)
05. Dancing For You (5.59)
06. Smiler At 52 (4.05)
07. I Fought Against The South (8.51)
Beaten By Love (3.28) 

Disc 2: 
01. There Were Days (Smiler At 52, Grasscut mix) (4.53)
02. Sounds Of Distant Summers (Songs Of Distant Summers, Richard Barbieri mix) (5.31)
03. Singing For You (Dancing For You, UXB mix) (4.42) 

Abandoned Dancehall Outtakes:
04. Abandoned Dancehall Dream (2.25)
05. The Sweetest Bitter Pill (3.51)
06. The Warm-Up Man Forever (band version) (4.15)
07. Songs Of Distant Summers Part 1 (band version) (4.55)
08. Songs Of Distant Summers Part 2 (band version) (3.59)

Label: InsideOut Music
Distribution: EMI (Denmark)
Artwork rating: 85/100
Reviewed by: Jason Spencer
Date: 7 August, 2014
Website: www.timbowness.co.uk