Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Songs, Songs And More Songs: John Dunbar's New Release

I wrote about John Dunbar's 2014 release "Third Guessing," back in May of that year. One of the things I liked about that record was the quality of the songwriting. You can have all the great ideas in the world and a great producer, but in the end, without a song, all you've got are bells and whistles. John Dunbar can write songs and many of the songs on "Third Guessing" stayed with me.

One of my problems with that record was its D.I.Y. quality. I've never been a fan of lo-fi and while I don't need everything to sound like a Wall Of Sound, or worse, like every MTV hit of the 90's, I do like a nice, fat band with a good drummer. As much as I liked "Third Guessing," I would have loved it with more instrumentation.

This brings me to "From Expectation To Surrender," Dunbar's just-released new set of original tunes. No, there isn't a band. But, Dunbar has stepped it up. Not only is the sound of this record more consistent, it contains some of the best songs Dunbar has ever written.

Check out the title track.

Ray Davies, Elvis Costello and even early Bowie all make spirtual appearances on "From Expectation To Surrender." Check out "I Didn't Know I Was Saying Goodbye," something of a McCartney/McManus collaboration if they had been writing for Costello's "King Of America" record. Or really, prime Difford/Tilbrook.

The record is chock full good of music-- smart lyrics with inspired stories and the all-important hook and melody. Again, these tunes are crying out for a band. Listen to "Buddy Boy." With a driving rhythm section behind it, this tune would give "Kimono My House"-era Sparks a run for its money.

New music rarely excites me these days. And it's not as if I don't try to give something a chance. Problem is, I'm usually bored by Track 3, yearning for something to sink my teeth into. "From Expectation To Surrender" kept me around. John Dunbar could work on his velocity, but he still pitched a complete game with this new record.


buzzbabyjesus said...

In a good with this sounds like 1971. It would have been released on Island with Joe Boyd as producer and hired hands like Pat Donalson and Timi Donald on bass and drums. And a guest appearance by Richard Thompson, and/or Sandy Denny.

Some of my favorite records fall into that category

Barry Eisenberg said...

"Two is the Second Loneliest Number" is the track that got me. Wish he had a full band!