Art Of Melody 2018
Reminiscences and optimism: Australian multi-instrumentalist creates a simple masterpiece.
Not really known beyond his homeland, Dion Bayman deserves a wider renown. The artist’s first three records didn’t stir a lot of action, but “Better Days” should, being all the more impressive thanks to its mastermind’s “one man band” approach that not only focuses the album’s melodic impact but also increases its immediacy.
The guitars’ pile-up of “Ready For The Real Thing” doesn’t take long to grab the listener’s ear, and once heavy organ joins in for the riff to lead into “Hello and welcome!” – a perfect opening line for any record – there’s no turning back from the road painted on the cover. “We’ve been here before,” sings Dion, and, of course, nothing’s new under the sun, especially in AOR reaches, yet old haunts have a lot of lure, too, so while there’s recognition of change in the piano-propelled “Out Of Mind Out Of Sight” that will heighten drama on tidal strings, there’s also defiance.
What really makes “Better Days” stand out is a logical sequence of the album’s numbers, where the punchy, if sensual, title track would be followed by “The Best Times Of My Life” whose crunch has a familiar New Jersey vibe, betraying Bayman’s influences. His boy-next-door vocals shine on “Leap Of Faith” among orchestral waves, but nothing can beat “Fallin’ For You” for acoustically tinctured effervescence, first and foremost on harmonies-filled choruses. As a result, when “If I Could” offers a dance a groove to drive a grandiose intent home, the aforementioned road and the door this path led to become a way in, not out, and the record a look forward rather than a glance over one’s shoulder.
With an album like this, any day should be better.