After much soul searching, Dylan Tighe has reinvented himself for his second album ‘Wabi-Sabi Soul’. If his first album ‘Record’ was the sound of a man coming to terms with himself then ‘Wabi-Sabi Soul’ is the aftermath of this discovery.
Tighe is nothing if not an evocative wordsmith, ‘Wabi-Sabi Soul’ is littered with lyrical nuggets that resonate – this isn’t music where a melody is dreamed up, and a struggle to fill it with semi-appropriate words or worse still a load of la la la la’s, ensues. There is real grit and emotion etched into these songs, which are a journey from the first to last song.
Ducasse (for my grandmother) is a poignant ode to Tighe’s grandmother “And most of us die / as the demons bay / the happy few /die another way”. It’s not sugar coated, nor is it meant to be. Musically, it is an upbeat affair with playful guitar notes the focus. There is a strong ‘80s feel to this tune with the sax adding a retro touch. Flowers On my Grave is more contemplative, while Never That Simple has an air of Aimee Mann about it with a quirkiness and earworm quality.
Fuck Perfection is Tighe giving two fingers to expectations, social injustice and finding comfort in his music. Its lyrics are pointed and linger long after the melody’s forgotten, “I’m jaded, of being anybody other than myself / Jaded of playing all the parts of everybody else” and elsewhere “Pricks still telling us what to do / what to think and who to screw”. It is poignant and soul bearing as is the beautiful On My Knees.
A few songs like Kith And Kin, Love Can Die So Slowly and reggae-esque Women Are Healers don’t snag your attention and just float by. If the lyrics and concept were all that mattered, you’d be talking about a stellar album here, but it’s not without its faults. Saxophone is used a little too liberally, to the point that it begins to grate and its intrusions alter the tone where there was no need. However, It’s entirely appropriate on a song such as Salt In My Wounds and adds to the bouncy tone of the music.
Tighe remains a singular voice and needs to be heard. He’s a songwriter that strays of the beaten path, and for that, he must be applauded. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it really strikes a chord.