Brian Dunn: tvs and radios
Vocally and thematically, Dunn’s coming from a space between a pair of Bruces, Cockburn and Springsteen. Like that pair, on this album Dunn’s loking at vanishing technologies with affection and nostalgia. The good news is he’s got the gravel and the ear for the stadium rumble. Not so good is the creeping sense of sameness which shows up around track 5. Sure there are some fast songs and some slow songs but within those parameters a little more shuffle would have been nice.
Dunn’s foray into ‘new’ country is more like old time country rock, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Coupled to a sense of quality recordiing and a commitment to roots authenticity (recorded in Sudbury) the album has its power moments.
Album opener “Winnipeg” comes out swinging with horns, rattling percussion and keyboard flourishes, and ends up stagggering under the weight of all that. Much better in that regard is “Mexico” featuring rumbling drums, heavy electric riffage from Dunn and a hoarse, convincing vocal. Which stomps the spit out of the similar-sounding and immediately folllowing “tvs”.
Best on the flipside of that would be slow-burning “Slow Learner”, a well-crafted song which plays to Dunn’s immediate strengths as player and singer. Plus it has the sweetest line on the album; “Christ, you’re a hard love.”
However, that sameness thing shows up and undermines “Katherine”, the track immediately following. The best one-two on the album would be the electrified roadhouse swagger of “Crash” and the album centrepiece, the elegantly delivered and cleverly structured four minute epic “Love”.