The Lemonheads’ Evan Dando was always something of a psychic wanderer, but in the wake of 1996’s mildly disturbed Car Button Cloth, he went AWOL entirely. It would be four years before he resurfaced for an acoustic solo tour, and two more before the arrival of his 2003 solo debut Baby I’m Bored.
Drenched in the askew, off-kilter atmospherics that gave the record the sense of lacklustre unease mastered by early Tindersticks and Lambchop, it suggested that the break might not have set Dando’s head entirely straight – just check out the narco-wonky Repeat and Rancho Santa Fe, or the weird wailing bloke (co-writer Royston Langdon of Spacehog) accompanying Dando’s cranky piano grooves on Waking Up, as if they’ve picked a studio haunted by the ghost of Peter Sellers.
Boasting little of Dando’s Mrs Robinson spriteliness, there’s a sense of an aimless soul trying to remember half-dreamt melodies, but the album settles and solidifies in its cowboyish latter half. It Looks Like You is a poppy Gram Parsons country ditty, while All My Life is a lovely – and, crucially, confident – tune with a dash of It’s A Shame About Ray’s sparkle.