In an unprecedented burst of creativity, Dean Wareham follows his well-received solo mini-album ‘Emancipated Hearts’ just over four months later with his solo debut proper. Consisting of eight original songs and a cover of Michael Holland’s ‘Heartless People’, the self-titled album is a very different record to itspredecessor, much less understated and more self-assured.No doubt partly due to its producer, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, who also plays on some of the tracks here (and turns in a remix of ‘Happy & Free’ as the
iTunes bonus track). Dean has admitted that Jim James pushed him in more of a “rock” direction, something which mini-album producer Jason Quever actively shied away from. This has resulted in surprisingly direct likes of ‘Holding Pattern’(an ode to bicoastal commuting, which inexplicably turns into a list of AOR bands “Kansas, Boston, Toto, Journey, Foreigner and Styx”) and ‘I Can Only Give My All’, which sit comfortably alongside the countryfied rock of ‘Happy & Free’ and the retro-pop of ‘The Dancer Disappears’.