‘MOMENT OF LEAVING’
Something I’ve learned as a reviewer in recent years is how much Canadian artists have to offer, despite an inexplicably low international profile relative to their closest neighbours. Inner Odyssey and Spaceport Union are two bands in point, both recording albums that featured highly in my end of year “Best Of” lists; albums I wouldn’t otherwise have heard. Dyed In Blue is the recording alias of Canadian singer/song-writer Patrick Grehan, a man with a long history, not just with a guitar, but also in music generally and sound production.
Moment Of Leaving’ is Grehan’s debut album, and doubtless shaped by his technical ability and experience – it’s a classy, thoughtful, independent release. Guitardriven Melodic Rock is not a bad description, with “overdrive guitars and acoustic, clean electric and mandolin, Moog Taurus pedals and volume swells” contributing to the album’s rich and layered sound. Grehan has described his song-writing as “less of a story telling approach and more of an emotional flow of personal events and dreamscapes”. With ‘Moment Of Leaving’ he has attempted to produce a modern sounding album that draws on influences from the seventies to the modern day. In a move that will please anyone who misses old-school LPs, the album’s ten tracks are presented as two blocks of five (side one and side two anyone?). Grehan is very ably supported in his endeavours by drummer Creighton Doane.
The album’s strength lies in its melodies and phrasing, and for that reason alone, it’s hard not to use Grehan’s compatriot Bryan Adams as a point of comparison. At its best, the album delivers well-rounded slices of timeless, mature Melodic Rock that are easy on the ear while also leaning gently on the heartstrings; opener ‘Lava Lamp’ is a prime example and my favourite track. Occasionally it does offer something a bit harder, typified by the punchy ‘Plaid Accident’ (nothing to do with Welsh nationalism), the snaking lead guitar work of ‘Strange Way’ (a Firefall cover) and the grit of ‘By The Breeze’, a track which sent me scuttling off to my collection to dig out Steve Thorne’s ‘Emotional Creatures’. There are high points then, and listening is never a chore, but whether there is sufficient quality or originality across all ten tracks for Dyed In Blue to make a mark on the international stage is something that remains to be seen.