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ALBUM REVIEW | Dream Pop

Dean Wareham, ‘Dean Wareham’

Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500 and Luna) makes an inspired move on his first solo album, recording with producer and psychedelic disciple Jim James of My Morning Jacket. They recorded this in James’s studio in Louisville, Ky., and nearly each song has a compelling depth. It’s basically a concept album about indecision, as Wareham plays more of a soothing raconteur than a singer. “Come turn the world on again,” he intones on “Beat the Devil,” adding an electric 12-string guitar reminiscent of the Byrds. James mostly plays spacey keyboards throughout, but affixes some of his famously imaginative guitar flourishes. Wareham, who is joined by his partner Britta at times, adds an anthem of pacifism in “Heartless People,” an ode to limbo in “Holding Pattern,” and finally breaks out with “Happy & Free,” with the cooly optimistic “there’s nothing wrong with the road we’re on — happy and free, for a while.” Many of his lyrics are obliquely intellectual (singing about “the Argonaut sea”), but it adds up to an understated sonic triumph that is unlike anything else out there today. (Out Tuesday)

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