Ian M Bailey
Songs to Dream Along To
Kool Kat Musik
A Delightful Byrds Inspired Album of Cohesive Songs that Never Repeat Themselves
We’ve become huge fans of Ian M Bailey and his(former?) band The Lost Doves in recent years; and to some extent possibly pen pals too; judging by the e-mail correspondence we’ve had!
That; in no way hopefully mars my judgement of his latest album; a writing collaboration with Daniel Wylie (formerly of Cosmic Rough Riders; whose Glasgow gig was the first ever review I had published #Fact) …… if you believe that; you’ll believe anything!
That said; I still approached this with some caution; not that I expected it; but there’s always the danger that an act can fall into the trap of re-hashing their previous outings; and that ain’t what RMHQ is about …. is it?
While still treading a similar path to the duo’s EP SHOTS OF SUN; opening track This is Not a Feeling has a transcendental Byrds ‘feel’ to it; but latter day; circa Notorious Byrd Brothers; with Bailey and Wylie’s voices harmonising like siblings; and the almost psychedelic organ/Rickenbacker combo taking the listener on a magic carpet ride that he wasn’t quite expecting.
Carefully avoiding any Hippy-Trippy nonsense; Bailey takes the late 60’s vibe and polishes and even expands it with 21st Century now-how; to create a bitter-sweet soundtrack to 2021 that will thrill and amaze the under 40’s in equal quantities.
I half expected to review SONGS TO DREAM ALONG TO after only one listen; but that proved futile; as a) it’s far to lovely for that and b) several songs have taken days to unravel; and even today I’m still not convinced I’ve got the best out of Everything Will Be Alright, Slow Down River or What’s Happening Now which simply aches with longing.
Americana music comes in a million different flavours; but what I like most about Bailey (and The Lost Doves) is his unbridled love of a melody and a catchy tune ……. even at my advanced age I still don’t mind tapping my toes and smiling while listening to music; and you can too with just about everything here; but I’d point you to the jangly A Place to Live and the dreamy The Best of Me as prime examples.
Don’t be lulled into thinking that this is pure Pop Music; while that is the golden thread that weaves these songs together; there is plenty of shade, especially in the lyrics of The Sound of Her Voice and Just Like a Child (Dreamcatcher) to make you draw favourable comparisons to previous exponents of Jangly Pop Music like Teenage Fanclub, REM and; dare I say it …White Album Beatles!
Speaking of which in my humble opinion; the Far Eastern instrumental Midday at Hope Lodge; is more than a cautious nod in the direction of G Harrison esq …… tell me I’m wrong.
Sigh …… to some degree any or every song here has been a possible Favourite Track; but for these purposes I’ve whittled it down to two; A Place to Live and I’m Not The Enemy; with the former being another gorgeously deep love song that is slowly unravelling, and revealing hidden depths to both writer’s skills with the pen and the guitar.
The latter; I’m Not The Enemy is perhaps the most leftfield song here; the guitars are a tad grungier than anywhere else (hints of Cosmic Rough Riders?) and the slow burning tale constantly threatens to get out of hand …… but never actually does; which highlights Bailey’s skills in the control tower.
While not quite a roller coaster ride of emotions; Bailey and Wylie have created a delightful album of cohesive songs that never repeat themselves; always moving along like gentle horseback ride on a sunny afternoon that drifts into a glorious sunset.
Released October 15th 2021
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