Dean Wareham and Cheval Sombre

Dean Wareham vs. Cheval Sombre

Double Feature

Dec 12, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Teaming up for a revitalized take on a set of western folk rock classics, Dean Wareham, of Galaxie 500 and Luna, and Cheval Sombre add their distinctive paisley patterned dye to the ochre hued earthiness of the originals. Mixing elements of dream poplike the tremulously whispered vocal harmonies and reverb soaked guitar pickingswith the searching, solitary lyrics of the westerns, they discover a shared terrain of enervated frailty common to both genres.

Like the sound of a lone wolf howling at the Arkansas moon, the album finds its heart in the weary desperation of the voice. Both Wareham and Sombre deliver the vocal phrases like someone who recounts a deeply personal story after their inhibitions have been dissolved by a long hike. Their registers blend uncannily well and reinforce the impression that these songs transcend any personal claims to ownership. The droning undercurrents of synth and galloping, staccato bass notes add a surreal depth of sound that call to mind mid-period Velvet Underground and Spacemen 3.

Their version of Blaze Foley's "If I Could Only Fly" fills the upper frequency range with wispy ambient synths and softly strummed guitars while the foundation of the track is the incessant, thudding tom that ends each phrase with a tambourine hit. The minimal instrumentation and soft treatment of the production gives the track a new sense of the architecture of the desert, its myriad textures and shapes changing as the sun and stars alternate their watch overhead. Never before has the lonesome west seemed so inviting and whimsical. (www.deanwareham.com)

Author rating: 6.5/10

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