Album Reviews

Issue 2022-078

It's Prog-Tober! 31+ albums and reviews in 31 days!

Tim Bowness — Butterfly Mind

Tim Bowness - Butterfly Mind
Say Your Goodbyes, Pt. 1 00 (2:22), Always The Stranger (2:50), It's Easier To Love (5:13), We Feel (4:53), Lost Player (3:13), Only A Fool (4:33), After The Stranger (1:15), Glitter Fades (4:50), About The Light That Hits The Forest Floor (3:49), Dark Nevada Dream (8:26), Say Your Goodbyes, Pt. 2 (1:59)
Greg Cummins

With seven solo albums now under his belt, Tim has embarked on a slightly different musical journey by engaging the services of drummer Richard Jupp after he left Elbow, together with Nick Beggs, (fretted and fretless bass, double bass, Chapman stick) and Brian Hulse (guitars, keyboards, synth, programming) while Tim is responsible for vocals, samples, synth, optigan guitar and Mellotron.

In addition, the album is graced with the company of other well-established luminaries from within the progressive rock and post-rock industries including Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Peter Hammill (Van Der Graaf Generator), Dave Formula (Magazine), Greg Spawton (Big Big Train) and other lesser-known fellow minstrels.

Although I had heard some of Tim's previous work with No-Man, it has really only been recently that I have delved into some of his solo albums, my favourite being, Lost In The Ghost Light.

Once you get used to the Tim's breathy vocals, you can then concentrate on the substance within the music. While there never seems to be much variation in Tim's singing style, the subtle appeal surely lies within the variety of the songwriting and the sometimes acerbic lyrics which I find quite entertaining.

Tim Bowness, promo photo by Mark Wood

Make no mistake, Tim's style could never really appeal to those liking a bit of grunge with their music, as each track tends to sound too similar to the song preceding it, whilst bordering on a softness that invokes a soporific effect on those staying up too late at night. That however, suits me fine if accompanied by a worthy glass or three of Shiraz.

Tim's haunting style really comes to the fore, as his voice is the perfect springboard for the messages contained with his lyrics. Sparse piano or keyboards are often underpinned with equally sparse guitar interludes and rhythms that add just enough bite to keep things interesting. The album is bereft of any gritty guitar leads or exotic drum fills that you might hear on more progressively-styled albums, but they are certainly not missed here as it's the overwhelming melodic nature of Tim's songwriting that captures the attention.

Having said that, of the albums I have heard, there is just so much overwhelming similarity between them that you really find it difficult to find a favourite song, something really special or just a song that doesn't sound like a replica from one of his other albums. Tim's music is however, very pleasant to listen to for shorter lengths of time, so long as you don't object to too much repetition with his singing style or voice in general. The music itself, however, is quite exceptional and in this case, Butterfly Mind is right up there with his previous efforts. Nice job!

Tim Bowness On

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