Saturday 5 July 2014

Albums of 2014: Tim Bowness - Abandoned Dancehall Dreams

Every now and again an album comes along by someone who you've never heard before that just grabs you by the balls from the very first track and just doesn't let go.

A few days ago I came across an album called Abandoned Dancehall Dreams. It was by an artist called Tim Bowness. Who, I hear you ask (maybe)? I had the same response. How could I have missed this guy?

I heard the track The Warm Up Man Forever. And it just blew me away. Its relentless rhythm, staccato strings, almost eastern overtones and a soft voice (reminiscent of Paddy McAloon) with a subject that I'd never heard a song about before. Just brilliant. Here is that track followed by a video in which Tim talks about the track.

So who IS Tim Bowness? Well, he's been around for a while actually. He's actually been part of a band called No-Man since the late 80s with none other than Steven Wilson. He of Porcupine Tree fame and one of the Icons of Prog Rock. He's well worth checking out both as a solo artist and as a member of Porcupine Tree.

Tim has also been in bands such as Henry Fool and has produced an album which Japan's Richard Barbieri.

Steven Wilson - Photo courtesy of UltimateGuitar,com

So, I set about finding out where The Warm Up Man Forever came from. It's actually the first track from Tim's second solo album released only a couple of weeks ago called Abandoned Dancehall Dreams.

It's a very beautiful record and it's 8 tracks contain some of the most mesmerizing music you'll hear on any album this year.

Two tracks Smiler at 50 and I Fought The Law come in at over 8 minutes long. I know what you're thinking - How Prog - but don't dismiss it. It's not musical masturbation. the songs grow and at the end of each one you'll understand while they needed the space to grow.

photo courtesy of

Smiler at 50 and it's companion track, Smiler At 52 tell the story of.. No, I'll let you find out yourselves. 

50 is a gorgeous piano based ballad. I heard echoes of Beatles & Beach Boys funnily enough which ends in a rather dramatic fashion and sets you up for 52 later in the album.

Songs Of Distant Summers is up next and is again based on a lovely piano refrain, it reminds me of something that Dennis Wilson could have recorded for his legendary Pacific Ocean Blue. A very good thing.

Waterfoot is an acoustic based song which conjures up Nick Drake in places with it's very English pastoral feel and chord changes and woodwind/strings. Tim explains what the songs is about here.

Dancing for you revolves around an electric piano before an electric guitar solo sends the track off in another direction completely with a Pink Floyd edge before coming back to the main theme.It's very elegiac and stately.  

Smiler At 52 brings the story up to date for Smiler.

Next up is the almost 9 minute I Fought The South which begins with strings and electric guitar with a feel Mark Hollis from Talk Talk would be proud of. Halfway through, it transforms into something totally different and ends on a very gentle note indeed.

photo by Dion Johnson

The final track is Beaten By Love and has a very Peter Gabriel feel about it. It seems as if the song has been composed around percussion, as Gabriel did on 3. 

I don't really want to say too much as I want you to discover the delights yourself. Odd for a review I know but there's so much to discover on the album that I am loathe to spoil it.

I just urge you to check it out and at least give it a listen. 

photo courtesy of

Twitter - @TimBowness 

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm... Bowness appears to have been around for quite awhile, and does seem to have some critical acclaim, as well as a decent fan-base. Truly completely off my radar... I'm bewildered!

    Interesting stuff... I'd put this in my "difficult music" category, along with David Sylvian, Sigur Ros, Scott Walker, later Talk Talk, etc. Requires in-depth listening and openness to the avant-garde. I know it's good, and some of the beauty really grabs me, but more often than not I lose patience, waiting for hooks to come. A weakness I'm working on. Perhaps I'm just not smart enough...

    I really like Bowness' voice. Strange to say, but he doesn't "look" like a guy who produces this type of music! Anyway, I've been investigating the back-catalog, and 'Schoolyard Ghosts' by No-Man appears to have some lovely tracks. I'm thinking I'll start there...

    Thanks for bringing this to my my attention...