Going from the front man of a strongly influential band to a solo artist has always been a tough act to pull off, trying to keep up the good will and credibility banked. But, Steve Wynn showed how to do it with style in the early ‘90s when Dream Syndicate called it a day and he decided to carry on in a decidedly different direction.
Omnivore Recordings has just re-released Wynn’s first two solo efforts, 1990’s great Kerosene Man and the 1991 follow up, Dazzling Display. His first album, though still sticking to some of the same indie college rock appeal of Dream Syndicate, found Wynn exploring new influences, with less emphasis on the psychedelia pop sound he was best known for at the time. He’s helped here by members of X, Concrete Blonde and Los Lobos. The record still endures decades later thanks to that first single, “Tears Won’t Help” and a number of other truly great indie pop songs like “Carolyn” and the title track. The re-release also comes with six live tracks, including some of his Dream Syndicate material.
The follow up, Dazzling Display, includes contributions from R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Vicki Peterson from The Bangles. The opening track, “Drag” and “Tuesday,” the two big singles off this record still sound great. Like Kerosene Man, this re-release is beefed up with half a dozen live tracks.
Of the two albums, the debut has gotten the most attention over the years, likely because the stakes were bigger for Wynn. But Dazzling Display is probably the more accessible of the two.
Steve Wynn – Kerosene Man; Dazzling Display/2018/Omnivore Recordings