Inside Out – Out Now.
Musicians are truly unpredictable creatures! Take, for instance, British-born singer/songwriter Tim Bowness. Though a fairly active entity in the Progressive Rock scene, his valuable services provided to top-quality artists such as Robert Fripp, OSI and his long-term collaborator Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree fame, it took the man ten whole years to create a follow-up to his debut solo album “My Hotel Year”.
Then, just as his fans braced themselves for another lengthy period of personal artistic drought, the fifty one year old maestro stunned us all by announcing the release of another impressive collection of songs – one that corms under the pretty amusing title “Stupid Things That Mean The World”.
Featuring once again collaborations by giants of the scene such as Peter Hammill (Van der Graaf Generator), Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson) and Anna Phoebe (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Jethro Tull), and with Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief) handling all mixing duties, “Stupid Things That Mean The World” is a continuation of the same musical journey undertaken by its predecessor only a year ago – a fact that I’m sure will delight Tim’s fans as “Abandoned Dancehall Dreams” scored pretty high on last year’s UK Rock charts, much to its creator’s delight.
So, if your idea of good quality music involves deep/passionate vocals, moody 70s-influenced piano/keyboard themes and layers upon layers of Floyd-influenced guitar nuances then you’re really in for a treat.
Based on a simple repetitive trance-like drum beat and filled with Tim’s trademark/passionate vocals, “The Great Electric Teenage Dream” opens the album in a truly emotional manner while the Floyd-esque guitar solo and the impressive string instrumentation of the Beatles-influenced “Sing To Me” keeps the album’s quality bar immensely high.
While in “Where You’ve Always Been” we have another good example of Tim’s unique ability of creating a good quality atmospheric Rock tune by mixing themes that are, at first sight, pretty simple in nature, the same-titled “Stupid Things That Mean The World” finds his indulge in up-beat Pop tunes that most of his colleagues would avoid like the plague.
It is at this very moment that you will presented with the amazing tunes of “Know That You Were Loved” – a six and a half minute acoustic guitar ballad with a vocal execution reminiscent of those performed by the mighty James LaBrie of the US Prog legends Dream Theater.
Groovy and much more up-beat, “Press Reset” will most certainly lift your spirits before it’s more moody siblings “All These Escapes” and “Everything You’re Not” bring the focus back into their moody bit pretty inviting melodies.
“Everything But You” is a one minute instrumental oozing Jethro Tull’s influence while the equally short piano-led “Soft William” paves the way for the absolutely delightful “At The End Of The Holiday” – a five minute piece filled with emotionally-charged orchestral themes and acoustic guitar melodies to die for.
It really beggars belief how Tim Bowness managed to create such an expertly arranged & well-balanced collection of songs in such a short period of time but I, for one, am not going to complain about it.
“Stupid Things That Mean The World” is another perfect example of Tim’s unique skills and artistic prowess – an album that may initially come across as moody affair that can only be truly appreciated under specific circumstances but one whose charms could and should be indulged constantly. ****
Review by John Stefanis
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