Ian Kehoe (Marine Dreams, Attack in Black) comes across as a young Leonard Cohen sitting in a bathtub typing out his lyrics. You find it all in his words, biographical honesty feathered with poetic embellishment sifted through narratives that leave the listener seeing as much as they are hearing. Marine Dreams feels like an underdog winning, like an art student’s summer freedom, like a mature ferris-wheel ride, but mostly like a holy punctual calling card.
The soul of rock and roll feels revived and interested in the rhythm section with Kehoe’s timbre splintered voice peaking out with pop melodies. Riffs that would have been abused by impatient minds are brilliantly used as punctuation and flare. Taste, wisdom, and imagination are in the design of every track while being executed in an indie tone without feeling stale. It’s like Bryan Adams meets Smog in it’s ability to be poppy rock with the tasteful mind of an outsider writer. There is melody and depth and blurry perfection.
A quiet and pretty song “No face” is the midpoint of an otherwise rumbly indie pop record that sets a standard for subtle innovations. “Sudden Dark Truths” and “Yet to see the sun” are straight ahead adventures with bittersweet notes on upbeat drums. Marine Dreams arrives late in the year but shouldn’t be missed on any “best albums of 2011” lists.