Friday, February 12, 2010

Album Review: Hugh Dillon - Works Well With Others

“Works Well With Others” is Hugh Dillon’s first studio album in 4 years, following 5 studio albums with the Headstones and one album credited to the Hugh Dillon Redemption Choir. During the 4 year span between albums, Dillon has landed many successful acting roles, most notably lead spots on the shows Durham County and Flashpoint. Given the success he has had in acting, one might have wondered if he would return to recording music, fortunately late in 2009 this album hit the shelves.

Dillon’s new album features production from Tragically Hip guitarist Paul Langlois on 12 of the 14 tracks, and mixing from Adam Kasper (who has worked with grunge artists Pearl Jam and Soundgarden). Overall, this album features Dillon expanding on the signature sound he forged with the Headstones, adding new sounds and instrumentation (such as piano and organ) to the overall feel of his music. This album features some classic gritty Dillon rockers like the opener “Friends of Mine”, “Ten Feet Tall”, “Surface of the Sun” and “Reel to Reel” in which Dillon suggests in his lyrics that even though he is now enjoying success as an actor, he still has a love for recording rock and roll music. The country rocker “Lucky” (featuring guest guitar work from Tragically Hip guitarist Rob Baker) is a highlight of the album, on this song Dillon sings about some of his potential brushes with death and how luck can come and go at all times in a person’s life.

The second half of the album begins with a slower and more introspective song (“Lost at Sea”, which has been featured in a Flashpoint episode) before returning to the rootsy rock sounds of “Radio Plays” and “Bottom of a Dream”. “My Mistakes” begins with an errie spare organ and drums backing Dillon’s voice, before picking up and turning into an uptempo rocker before returning to organ and vocals for the song's outro. It’s another song where Dillon comes to terms with the mistakes he has made in his life, however the song also suggests not dwelling on them and moving forward in one’s life. “Ignore That Call” is another driving rocker, with a nifty guitar line providing the hook for listeners. The album finishes with two slower numbers, the romantic “Puzzle I Am” and the cautionary tale “Don’t Be Fooled” (which has also appeared on Flashpoint).

Overall, “Works Well With Others” is a solid album from start to finish, and is an excellent addition to Dillon’s catalogue of music. People who are familiar with Dillon’s acting, and are wondering what his music sounds like will find this to be a worthy album to listen to. Canadian rock fans that are familiar with Dillon’s music with the Headstones will also enjoy this album, as it shows Dillon continuing to expand his sound as a rock artist.

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