Brian Dewan – Words of Wisdom

Brian Dewan – Words of Wisdom / 2007 Eschatone / 16 Tracks / / /

Brian Dewan is one weird individual. The sing-song nature of “Words of Wisdom” (the opening track), could conceivably be on a Disney movie or some odd, out of the way, radio station. Dewan’s opening to the album “Words of Wisdom” is primarily vocal, with only the lightest in terms of instrumentation to fill the wide spaces left by these lyrics. “Words of Wisdom” is not a cohesive album in that there are a good quarter of the tracks recorded around 15 years before the others – it is a testament to Dewan’s ability that ey is so able to link these two distinct periods in eir life to create something resembling a full album.

Perhaps the only two comparisons that can be made to existing artists in popular music in the current period would have to be They Might Be Giants and David Byrne. The same odd style of storytelling is present in tracks like “The Kettle Valley Line” just as they were on “The Knee Plays”. In much of the same way, the same absurdism that drives a great deal of the They May Be Giants tracks is present on the songs during “Words of Wisdom”. The one thing that distinguishes Dewan from these artists is Dewan’s ability to create some of the most catchy music out. I understand that TMBG have had a number of hits over the years, but Dewan goes even further than that to make some of the most infectious tracks that have ever been committed to disc.

One of the only things that I would have to change about “Words of Wisdom”, given the chance, would have to be the difference in production values between the 1992 and 2007 tracks. What is soft, smooth, and well produced in the 2007 tracks is simply not present in the much more rough and noisy environment that the 1992 tracks are present in. The tracks are reined in by Dewan to create something cohesive, but there are some seams present during a number of these tracks. Individuals that have not heard Dewan up to this point may have to ease into “Words of Wisdom”. The sing-song style of Dewan took a few listens to truly get used to, and there are some grammatical or lyrical structures that do become infuriating at points. Give Dewan a chance if you like music that is at the edges of sanity and playability.
Top Tracks: Horse Named Bill, Tobacco’s But An Indian Weed
Rating: 5.5/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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