Album Reviews

Tim Bowness: Late Night Laments – “Music for open spaces”

The No-Man singer returns with his sixth solo album and second in as many years.

Better known for his involvement as lead singer in art-pop collective, No-Man, and collaborating with Porcupine Tree‘s Richard Barbieri, Warrington-born Tim Bowness has carved out a modest solo career of late.

With the successful release of last year’s Flowers at the Scene, he follows it up with his sixth long-player, Late Night Laments.

An array of gentle sonic undercurrents provide a backdrop to Bowness‘ mundane imagery, forming a brand of atmospheric escapism-pop.

Equal parts poetic and dream state, the moody pop balladry of opening number, Northern Rain, starts off the album strongly, as Bowness sings “You’re laughing, a laughter close to crying/Beneath the northern rain”.

Songs like I’m Better Now and The Last Getaway sound like songs Mercury Rev would write on downers. “Two Seconds of hate/A life time of grieving/I couldn’t wait to stick the knife in.” Bowness sings on the former.

Bowness throws in these little pearls of wisdom all throughout Late Night Laments (no better than on Never a Place, where he jadedly sings “You were such a different kind/A leaking ship of flawed bloodline“.

Tim Bowness – Late Night Laments

Darkline is a skinny electro-pop number that could be perceived as background music in an up-market eatery, while we Caught the Light wouldn’t look out of place amongst Philip Selway‘s solo body of work.

It’s music for open spaces, which is fitting given a collective appreciation of such things during the current COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, Late Night Laments couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

It’s an album that occupies the world of orchestral pop and while the arrangements seem simple on the surface, there are subtle embellishments that draw you in for further exploration in a bid to unravel.

For the most part, these nine tracks bleed into one another and while there are peaks and troughs, Bowness does provide us with a snapshot of everyday life through these songs.

While Late Night Laments is an album rich in simplicity, there still remains an aesthetic that’s hard to pin down, as Bowness’ stylistically blurs the lines with so many genres, which is refreshing; especially for an artist so deep into his career.

The album is a modest depiction of an artist who unbending in delivering his songs. While he probably won’t gain a swathe of new followers, Bowness‘ long term admirers will be more than pleased with this latest addition.

Late Night Laments is out now via Inside Out Music.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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