They say that you can tell a lot about a person by the company that they keep. You can similarly tell a lot about a musician by the people they call on to play on their record. Dare To Hope features a host of names, people who have played with everyone from Dixie Chicks and Mary Chapin Carpenter to Jackson Browne and Ray Lamontagne, and most notably Dave Mattacks, best known as a mainstay of Fairport Convention but here more in keeping with the sounds and style which he brought to the sessions he did with XTC.
Bombardier Jones, great name by the way, is clearly a fan of the British Invasion sound but that is just one element which goes into his mix, bonding at molecular level as it does with, west coast psychedelia, post-punk pop sensibilities, cosmic country magic and no shortage of classic, singer-songwriter vibes. It’s a heady mix, sonically speaking, but the most powerful element to be found in his musical broth is the sheer positivity which oozes out of theories of songs. From the album title itself, through the gentle euphoria of the lyrics and even the soothing tones of his delivery, Bombardier Jones is a tonic in these dark and divided times.
I can’t imagine anyone getting up in the morning, giving Let The Light Shine a spin and not feeling that they can do just about anything. If ever a revolution was going to start in the quietest and most unlikely of places, this is the song which would act as its catalyst. And not one of those noisy, destructive, aimless revolutions, this song would inspire a private one, a constructive and creative renaissance which changes the mindset of the population, one person at a time.
Unrecorded Time is a lilting, philosophical ballad which reminds us that empires rise and fall, kings come and go but it is the common man who is always called on to do the actual work, Great Idea is a late-era Kinks infused slice of gorgeous pastoral pop and Stay Wild is a bubble-gum chewing, back to the jukebox, rock and roll anthem to cutting loose.
Bombardier Jones knows how to write a tune, clearly. But the best thing about his music is the hidden depths often masquerading as hidden shallows. Even when bopping and bogeying along seemingly without a care in the world there is alway a slice of wisdom wrapped up in wit, a history lesson disguised as a simple sing-a-long, a political insight in pop clothing. And in such entrenched and divided times perhaps it is such a Trojan horse approach to disseminating interesting and subversive ideas which is the way to go. And if that isn’t for you then you still have a masterclass in gorgeous, graceful and gentle pop to absorb.