Daniel Wylie may be 58 but, his soul remains as carefree and poetic as any teenager yearning for escape. ‘Scenery For Dreamers’ is Wylie’s 8th studio album and is littered with sun drenched avenues to explore and fall in love with.
You could be forgiven for thinking opener, ‘Rope (Everybody Lies)’, was a breezy pop song with its infectious ‘ba ba ba ba’s’ and, musically it is. Lyrically though, darkness prevails as the protagonist kids himself to cope with depression.
The ‘ba ba ba ba’s’ in question, act as a magical defiance and keep a lust for life motoring. Encased in 70s Californian rock n roll guitars, and with the line ‘could have gone under but dragged myself up’, it’s hard to view this as anything but heroic.
Wylie’s vocals have always been infectious but, on ‘Lucky Find’, they reach new peaks. The ‘Cortez The Killer’ opening mushrooms into pop nirvana as Wylie channels his inner Steely Dan and Brian Wilson to absolute perfection.
Negating its way through most of the album are the guitars of the Neil Young circa ‘Rust Never Sleeps’ and Scottish peers Teenage Fanclub. ‘Cold Alaska’, has In its opening and in the solo, the raucous nature of Young on his 1979 classic. Whereas, the verses have the freeness of the open road that the Fanclub made so prominent on ‘Bandwagonesque’.
‘Jingle Jangle Morning’ is beset with emotion and fragility of ‘The Concept’ but, simultaneously, is laden with the pop sensibilities of Young’s ‘Sail Away’ and the fuzzy drama of ‘Powderfinger’. When the two influences combine, its as though life affirming victory looms at every junction.
Wylie’s career, for too long has gone under the radar. It would appear, as he goes beyond his mid-point in life, the pop tunes are pouring out of him. Might this be the time for the masses he so richly deserves to come a flocking?