CD REVIEW: JIM DICKSON – Coelum Versus
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
You can’t keep a good guitarist down, and Jim Dickson – latterly Radio Birdman bassist, and with a long CV that includes entries with a veritable myriad of underground luminaries including Passengers, Barracudas, The New Christs, Louis Tillett, Deniz Tek, Charlie Owen, Paul Berwick, Russell Murch, Steve Lucas and Penny Ikinger – has produced a solid album that he says is, “basically a story, conceptual in its making, based on meditations on tragedy, suffering, redemption, revelation and rebirth… aspects of life brought very near to me by the passage of the lives of friends whose lives I hold very dear.”
It’s not all raucous garage rawness either: Dickson is equally adept at singer/songwriter introspection, playing acoustic guitar as well as bass here, and enlisting a host of mates (including Tek) to help out.
At his best when torching the rule book and mashing up styles like a gourmet chef, Eternal Reward injects some T-Rex stomp into the mix, whilst We Know How You Feel… Relax! starts introspective and solo, progressing to a dreamy, near-shoegaze state, before hitting full ‘60s mode with lush organ and female backing vocals. It’s simply great. Billet Doux even goes all Euro-gypsy with a slightly psychedelic instrumental edge, heavy on the groove and schwang.
Out Of Space And Time combines feedback, Hammond organ and a tight, swinging boogie, before the semi-drunken singalong of Every Old Dog Has His Day, and the album wraps up with the boogie woogie rock n’ roll of Lysanne.
Coelum Versus’ journey isn’t exactly bright and cheery, but a journey it is, and an enticing one at that. Musically diverse, introspective and intriguing, Dickson’s step from rhythm section journeyman into frontman is a success indeed.
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