From Galaxie 500 to Luna to Dean & Britta and then from under that moniker a range of soundtracks and soundscapes, Dean Wareham has covered some ground – while essentially mining versions of the same sound – for a quarter of a century. So it’s strange to finally hear his debut solo project. Of course with the bleating voice and shimmering guitar – actually it’s more like shards of broken dream-pop being reassembled – you know pretty much what to expect. And what you receive is another version of what you know. And it’s wonderful. It’s not just what you expect but what you want.
Still it’s strange to think that Wareham has only just got to making a solo album. Well, mini-album, as Emancipated Hearts is just a touch more than an EP and not quite an album (my favourite format/length – more than enough to whet the appetite, trimmed of indulgences and extraneous silliness).
There’s a country tinge to opener, Love Is Colder Than Death and there’s hints of folk stretching out, most notably on the cover of The Incredible String Band’s Air but I can’t help but think that the timing of this release is exquisite. To me it’ll always be the Lou Reed Comeback Album we were never going to get. Lou was never going to do that for us – and now he can’t. Wareham, a lifelong student of those four crucial Velvet Underground records, hasn’t tried to make the Lou Reed Comeback Album we were never going to get. And when he made this Reed was still alive but it’s been a cosmic blast taking this record on board in the wake of Lou’s passing.
Everything in its right place then.
Dark and charming, gentle, assured, just a perfect wee drop.