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Articles Home » 2003 Articles » Dando, Evan - 2003 Baby I'm Bored
Dando, Evan - 2003 Baby I'm Bored

ARTIST: Dando, Evan
ALBUM: Baby I'm Bored
LABEL: Bar None/Setanta
YEAR: 2003


LINEUP: Evan Dando - guitar, vocals * Royston Langdon - bass * Chris Brokaw - drums * Jon Brion - various instruments * Bryce Goggin - piano * Howe Gelb - keys, guitars, vocals * Joey Burns - upright bass * A. Johnson - drums * Sim Cain - drums * J. Convertino - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Repeat * 02 My Idea * 03 Rancho Santa Fe * 04 Waking Up * 05 Hard Drive * 06 Shots Is Fired * 07 It Looks Like You * 08 The Same Thing * 09 Why Do You Do This To Yourself * 10 All My Life * 11 Stop My Head * 12 In The Grass All Wine Colored

After being a cult hero in the early 90s and then fading out, the fickle music press were never going to welcome Evan Dando back with open arms. Things were always going to be a little difficult. Major music publications in the UK have viewed this album as a lacklustre return after 'six years of not doing much at all.' The fact is, that's not strictly true. After the final Lemonheads album, 'Car Button Cloth' and a tour, Dando set to work writing material for a solo album. Upon completion, the album was rejected by his then record company. Without a record deal, in the late 1990s, Evan took the new songs on the road in an attempt to hold on to a fan base, which for the last few years had been dwindling. The new millennium came and went and Dando's proposed new album still hadn't seen the light of day. More live shows followed, including a solid set at the Reading Festival in 2001, but still, there was no record company interest.

The Songs
'Baby I'm Bored' eventually found a home at Bar None Records (Setanta Records in Europe). Some of the songs are familiar from the many live shows, some are not. This may even be the exact same album rejected by the record companies previously, though I suspect given the amount of time which has passed, some songs may have been penned more recently. It's been forever coming, but the world now has a new studio album from one of recent history's unlikely stars. Musically, it isn't too different from 'Car Button Cloth', but to be honest, the fan-base Dando has managed to retain over the years wouldn't expect - or want - anything else. As the opening notes of 'Repeat' make an appearance, there's a definite air of familiarity. As Dando's voice meets the semi-acoustic jangle, it's like taking a trip back in time to the summer of 1992, when 'It's A Shame About Ray' (the Lemonheads' most popular and enduring album) was the epitome of alternative pop cool. 'My Idea', co-written with Smudge's Tom Morgan, firmly puts this album in its stride, the acoustic bent showing Evan has his best. The country tinged 'Hard Drive' (written by Australian singer-songwriter Ben Lee) sounds very much like it was cut live; it's upright bass has a great warmth and Dando's performance seems a little less disposable than usual. It's very similar to the best of Buffalo Tom mainman Bill Janovitz's solo work, and I suspect this owes a great deal to the presence of Giant Sand's Howe Gelb, who has contributed to Janovitz's work in the past.

The slight country feel carries over into 'It Looks Like You', which tips the hat to a couple of Dando's heroes - Roger McGuinn and Gram Parsons. In terms of structure or lyrical content, it'll never change the world, but if you're looking for something with 'feel-good' factor, it's a winner. 'The Same Thing' sounds like a Lemonheads leftover. It definitely dates back to the earlier writing sessions for the album, as it was played at the live shows during the 'wilderness years' and was featured on the stop-gap CD 'Evan Dando Live At The Brattle Theatre'. The cover of Ben Lee's 'All My Life' is beautifully put together and has a great atmosphere. Listening to it, it feels like meeting an old friend. Although this album has some great songs on it, it's this track which gets me every time - a definite stand out moment. After that, things seem to tail off a little, although after repeated listens, 'In The Grass All Wine Colored' could be a very effective closing number, as (thanks again to the presence of Howe Gelb) it has the same rootsy, live feel, first heard on 'Hard Drive'.

In Summary
It's doubtful that 'Baby I'm Bored' will be viewed as a classic in years to come. It's doubtful it'll even reach the same cult status as the Lemonheads' 'It's A Shame About Ray' or 'Come On Feel' albums. It probably won't expand Dando's fan-base either, but it doesn't matter in the big picture. Most importantly, Dando has stuck to his guns and - regardless of fashion - released the album he wanted to, and strangely, after a few plays, it feels like he's never been away.

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