Dean Wareham and Cheval Sombre Offer Up Golden Obscure Covers With ‘Dean Wareham Vs Cheval Sombre’ (ALBUM REVIEW)


There’s little surprise herein. And that’s a good thing. The mellow, atmospheric, softly seductive sound Dean Wareham crafted at the helm of the indie prog bands Galaxie 500 and Luna find a new genesis in this duo effort with fellow traveler Cheval Sombre, and the results are every bit as alluring as one would expect.

Of course, it takes little to convince given that they cover of Dylan’s eternal ballad “Tomorrow Is a LongTime,” one of the most beautiful songs ever written, and “Greensboro Woman,” a deliriously haunting tune by Townes Van Zandt. However, every other track on the album is a gem as well. A collection of covers, many of the obscure variety, Dean Wareham Vs Cheval Sombre offers a series of songs in a similar style to what Wareham has procured in the past. The song selection is intriguing overall, and while a remake of the familiar folk standard “Wayfaring Stranger” seems an obvious choice given the western motif suggested by the album art, a surreal remake of Lerner and Lowe’s “Wandering Star,” culled from the musical “Paint Your Wagon,” seems a deft if somewhat obscure  choice for this modern mash-up.

Ultimately, the album finds the two musicians in a perfect pairing, and while Sombre is less known than Wareham, his psych sensibilities are equally well honed. His two previous albums found him creating sonic set-ups similar in style to Mazzy Star and, not surprisingly, Wareham’s work as well. As a result, despite the somewhat cloudy concept — western ballads rendered in a nocturnal haze? — the duo offer an alluring example of indie expressionism. Given Wareham’s penchant for varying his projects and Sombre’s slow though steady emergence, this effort will take time to take hold. Hopefully, though it’s a prelude to other collaborations to come.

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