We all have heroes. People we admire from a distance, who's music, films, books or whatever makes a difference to our lives in some way. I have them. Some have been with me nearly all my life. Tim Bowness is one, who's voice has been with me ever since I heard him sing " Days in the Trees" back in the early 90's. That defining moment was the start of a love affair with that voice. Probably more than love! His voice reaches places that other voices just don't even begin to make a dent. Together with Steven Wilson as no-man that voice has taken me through my emotional highs and lows of my life since first being heard. The voice has popped up all over the place, with nosound, Henry Fool, Samuel Smiles, Peter Chilvers, Richard Barbieri, Nick Magnus, Slow Electric to name a few.
But here he is with his first solo album in 10 years. In fact this album is probably his first real defining statement as a man alone. It's extraordinary of course. That voice never let's me down. There are elements of no-man as expected. In fact the album started out as a potential no-man album, but Wilson was busy. Doing what? A good thing I think as his absence allowed Tim to take the album into new territories. Aided by a host of empathic contributors such as Pat Mastelotto, Michael Bearpark, Andrew Keeling and Anna Phoebe it's all a joy to behold. The opening track "The Warm-Up Man Forever" is the most jaunty track on here, which reminds me somehow of Pulp (in a good way) and includes a killer chorus together with an inspired guitar solo by Bearpark. In fact Bearparks guitar playing is a standout on this album. Just listen to the wonderful, Bill Frisell like soloing on "Dancing for You"! Another favourite is "Waterfoot" which is almost a two way collaboration with Andrew Keeling as he co-wrote, arranged the strings and plays guitar, bass, organ and percussion. The result is a homage to Nick Drake, with those strings evoking Robert Kirby and the whole thing bringing long lost summer days in the English countryside to life. The whole album is a homage to days gone by! The people, places and emotions of those days of our youth. Tim feels it and makes you feel it too.
This is a special album. Well, to me anyway. That voice has been with me for years and will be for many more, soundtracking the good times and the bad times. But oh my, he has produced something here that is much more than I could have ever imagined!