Thursday, March 06, 2014

Dean Wareham: "Dean Wareham" (album review)

By now we all know what to expect from a Dean Wareham album.  We've heard him make atmospheric rock with Galaxie 500, Luna, and Dean & Britta.  On March 11th we hear something a little bit new: the first solo full length from Wareham.

The self-titled record has plenty of familiar sounds.  The opening track, "Dancer Disappears", is typical Wareham.  It's a moody, arty number that features those distinctive nasally vocals.  The unhurried pace of "Heartless People" and "Love Is Not a Roof Against the Rain" are right in his wheelhouse.

"Holding Pattern" is the most energetic track on the album.  The complicated arrangements make the melody swell like a great heaving tide.

Things do get a little bit different with "Beat the Devil".  The song still has the top coat of Wareham's style, but it feels like it has the heart and soul of a whimsical country song.  That is revisited with the banjo mix of "Happy & Free" (available only as a digital bonus).

The most 'out-there' track is "I Can Only Give You My All".  This time, Wareham gives a pyshcedlic rock effort with a bit of a Ravi Shankar influence.  It's an incredibly refreshing sound.

Dean Wareham holds a little bit for everybody.  Long-time fans will appreciate the familiar sounds, while he's included just enough new touches to make the album fresh and engaging.  It's a nice first foray into solo work.

Dean Wareham plays the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on April 9th.

Best tracks: "Holding Pattern", "I Can Only Give You My All"

Track listing for Dean Wareham:
  • Dancer Disappears
  • Beat the Devil
  • Heartless People
  • My Eyes Are Blue
  • Love Is Not a Roof Against the Rain
  • Holding Pattern
  • I Can Only Give You My All
  • Babes In the Woods
  • Happy & Free

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