Dean Wareham – Emancipated Hearts

Dean Wareham - Emancipated Hearts

Dean Wareham – Emancipated Hearts

Having successfully quashed any concerns about securing a sustainable existence in the wake of Luna’s 2005 dissolution – thanks to his ongoing role as one half of Dean & Britta, soundtrack work, publishing his enjoyable Black Postcards memoir and live shows revisiting the Galaxie 500 songbook – Dean Wareham now continues his diverse renaissance with a newly-cut solo mini-LP. Consisting of six tracks (bolstered by bonus cuts on CD and digital formats), Emancipated Hearts feels like a deliberately low-key and lateral route for the first official solo Wareham release since 1991’s one-off Anesthesia EP. 

A lot of artistic and music industry water has gone under Wareham’s bridge since that tentative interim post-Galaxie 500/pre-Luna release of course, which perhaps reflects in the more mature and downbeat yet playfully experimental nature of this mid-length suite of songs.  Ably assisted by Papercuts’ Jason Quever on production and multi-instrumentalist duties, long-running musical partner Britta Phillips on bass and backing vocals, violinist Gillian Rivers and drummer Anthony LaMarca, Wareham delivers Emancipated Hearts through a dark yet dreamy fog, honouring his past pedigree as well as finding fresh dimensions for his songcraft in the process.

Hence, the amenable opening “Love Is Colder Than Death” saunters in like a mid-tempo Luna number whilst affixing layers of low-slung guitars, a John Cale-meets-Lee Hazlewood string arrangement and balmy harmonies.  For the sublime title-track, Wareham goes sonically deeper, as a hypnotically-repetitive guitar figure leads a sprawling soundscape that feels like a lost link between Spacemen 3’s Recurring and Low’s The Curtain Hits The Cast.  In its wake, “The Deadliest Day Since The Invasion Began” swims in the late-‘80s/‘90s murk which birthed Galaxie 500’s earliest recordings, albeit with added baroque-like strings.  The shadow-creeping ambience is sustained across “The Longest Bridges In The World,” which also draws in a subtle Duane Eddy twang, before “The Ticking Is The Bomb” brings in some light-hunting elegance through its lush Phillips-boosted vocal outro.  Official proceedings close with a cover of The Incredible String Band’s “Air.”  Always a masterful re-interpreter of other people’s songs, Wareham adroitly opens-out the original’s campfire hymnal qualities to act as a romantic and warmly-hummed finale.

Although the purposefully murmurous qualities of Emancipated Hearts may initially require some immersive listening to properly allow access to its rich elegiac core, the effort is certainly worth it.  Clearly, Dean Wareham’s latter-day creative resurgence shows no signs of ending just yet.

Sonic Cathedral / Double-Feature Records

Trackbacks

  1. […] 2013-10-28: Delusions of Adequacy (DOA) Ably assisted by Papercuts’ Jason Quever on production and multi-instrumentalist duties, long-running musical partner Britta Phillips on bass and backing vocals, violinist Gillian Rivers and drummer Anthony LaMarca, Wareham delivers Emancipated Hearts through a dark yet dreamy fog, honouring his past pedigree as well as finding fresh dimensions for his songcraft in the process. […]