Dean Wareham: Dean Wareham (Double Feature) - album review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #49 - February/March 2014 - PortlandiaDean Wareham

Dean Wareham

Double Feature

Mar 11, 2014 Issue #49 - February/March 2014 - Portlandia Bookmark and Share

Dean Wareham‘s debut solo recordinglast year’s majestic mini-album/EP Emancipated Heartsbrought out the softer side in the former frontman of both Galaxie 500 and Luna. Emotive, fragile, and soaked in haunting melody, the EP’s collection of faint lullabies was one of 2013’s most understated and beautiful releases. Pleasingly, it was also a precursor to this, Wareham’s inaugural solo LP.

In truth, the recording (produced by Jim James of My Morning Jacket) is not exactly a “long-player.” Clocking in at just nine tracks, this is a short, yet fleshier, extension to the deft strains of Emancipated Hearts. Rather than continue down the line of slender, tender sonic shimmers, it bulges with galaxy-striding effects and country-tinged chimes. And, for that, it’s a far richer, more hypnotic listen than its predecessor.

Narrative-wise, Wareham continues on his quest to get under the skin of human fallibility. Songs such as the sleepy-eyed “My Eyes Are Blue” and the illuminating “Happy & Free” ooze emotional depth, each straddling a fine line between nursed melancholy and genuine ebullience. The minimal and elegant “Love is Not a Roof Against the Rain” is just as introspective, leading Wareham to ask the eternal question: “What have I done with my life?”

It may sound bleak, but don’t be put off. Such moments are not as dark and hope-bereft as they seem. Wareham has an innate ear for melody and it massages every absorbing number here. In the frothing “I Can Only Give My All,” he even creates a rousing clarion call amidst the surge of guitar and percussion that whips into a cacophonous apogee.

Not content with creating one of last year’s most enchanting records, Dean Wareham has managed to repeat the trick once again in 2014. Much like the man behind the music, it’s the kind of hot streak you suspect is going to last. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 3/10


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