I was very curious to hear this new project by Tim Bowness. For one, I usually like what he does, even though I consider most of his work as being only vaguely progressive. This being said, because of the personnel involved (Steven Wilson, Colin Edwin, Pat Mastelotto...), because of his out of character work with the recent Henry Fool album and even because of the very "70's Prog" album cover... I tought that this CD would be his proggiest ever. Well not really...
On Abandoned Dancehall Dreams Tim Bowness pretty much does what he is confortable with. Dreamy, mellow Art Rock songs. Sure, there a few slighly more intense moments than usual; a couple of nice guitar or keyboard solos; a few tracks with energetic drums or crunchy guitars... but just about nothing that will break the mellow mood of the album. Two tracks clock at more than 8 minutes. They both end with instrumental sections that start a couple of seconds after the sung section has totally stopped, so they feel much more like independent pieces of music, not an actual continuation of the track. The first of these, at the end of "Smiler at 50", is by far the most intense section of music on the album and, IMO, does not fit that well with the rest of the CD. It's the only real break of mood I could detect on this mellow album.
The version of Abandoned Dancehall Dreams I purchased was downloaded on mucicme.com. Three bonus tracks were offered; remixes of previous songs. The most interesting is the Richard Barbieri mix of "Songs of Distant Summers" called "Sounds of Distant Summer". The other two are also quite nice, different enough from the original to be interesting, and not out of place on the album (which is often the case with remixed bonus tracks). They complement very nicely this very good CD.
All in all, even though I don't consider it to be a big shift in Tim Bowness's output, Abandoned Downhall Dreams is an excellent addition to his discography and should certainly please his fans, and maybe gain him a few more.