Tim Bowness – Stupid Things That Mean The World Review
Tim Bowness has been crooning over a wide splattering of genres for more than two decades, including a lengthy duo with progressive torchbearer Steven Wilson called No-Man. Yet despite travelling the trip-hop, alt pop and art rock pathways that so often spread far out into the ether, it’s in his solo work that Bowness truly runs the gamut. Stupid Things That Mean the World explores territory new, old and in between, with a style longtime listeners will both instantly recognize and also question profusely over the course of the record. To say it keeps interest would be a vast understatement.
It must be said, however, that all the genre-hopping over his career has given Bowness a particular signature. His syrupy sweet voice is the obvious indicator, always gliding softly across the aural coastlines with somberly coloured ease; he sings half-remembered dreams with a kind of objectivity, or the just-barely-aloof candor and sensibility of someone freshly put together after things went awry.
This signature, though, extends beyond and into the depths of the music all around him: even in the bombastic rock of “The Great Electric Teenage Dream” and “Press Reset” – a genre his voice doesn’t often decorate – a clear and concise line can be drawn all the way back to the first dance pop singles of No-Man. If anyone needed proof that group was more than just another whim of acclaimed producer Wilson, it’s the confidence and grace Bowness exudes on this record.
Backed by some of the finest players in prog – from Pat Mastelotto’s quirky rhythms and Colin Edwin’s silk bass tones to guitar from The Pineapple Thief’s Bruce Soord, who mixed it as well – Bowness surges out in all directions from the movement begun on last year’s solo record, Abandoned Dancehall Dreams, refining and polishing as he goes. Highly recommended for listeners looking for succinct, pop-leaning Gazpacho, the older classics from the aforementioned Thief, or Marillion’s more laid-back approaches. It’s out now via InsideOut Music.
Review by Greg MacLean