Tim Bowness: Abandoned Dancehall Dreams

No-Man vocalist delivers sublime solo.

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Arguably best-known as the singer in No-Man, his band of a quarter-century with Steven Wilson (who mixed this), Bowness has released collaborations with other starry names (Fripp, Manzanera) but only one previous solo album, 2004’s quiet, artful My Hotel Year. Now he’s only gone and blown the bloody doors of perception off.

This is a cinematic, contemporary classic, big as a planet but all the more affecting for its subtlety and restraint. Fans of David Sylvian, Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel will bask in its beauty.

The Warm-Up Man Forever fuses Lust For Life rhythms (from King Crimson’s Pat Mastelotto) with savage strings and guitars. Smiler At 50 is as poignant as I Fought Against The South is wry. Exquisitely sung, its themes the forlorn and frustrated, the album perfectly gauges its balance of tender and titanic.

It’s been a while coming, but Bowness has made something truly timeless here.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.