Evan Dando

Baby I'm Bored

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After the Lemonheads' Car Button Cloth, Evan Dando disbanded the group and took a long, long break, sobering up and marrying, slowly resurfacing after over five years of inactivity. First, he played some gigs, commemorated on the U.K.-only live album Live at the Brattle Theatre, before he finally released his first official solo album, Baby I'm Bored, in the spring of 2003, a full seven years after the last Lemonheads album. It's unmistakably a Dando album -- lots of low-key, three-chord songs, sung in his achingly lovely voice, and lasting not a second more than need be -- not much different than a Lemonheads album, apart from the lack of fast songs, loud electric guitars, and a general sense of maturity that permeates the album. So, there are no surprises, but that's a comfort, really, because Dando sounds comfortable and relaxed, lending Baby I'm Bored a cohesion unheard on his records since It's a Shame About Ray. While the schizophrenia, marked by unexpected noise detours, aren't missed, this cohesion does mean that he doesn't hit dazzling heights, so there isn't anything as immediately indelible as "If I Could Talk I'd Tell You" or even "The Outdoor Life." That said, there is something to be said for consistency. Even if it seems unassuming and underwhelming upon its first listen, Baby I'm Bored with each spin reveals the uniform strength of the songs and the sweet, understated charms of Dando as a performer, since he makes the covers -- several of which are written by Ben Lee -- sound of piece with his own work. Make no mistake, this is a laid-back affair and it's a grower, which may lead some listeners to dismiss it out of hand, but anybody that has longed for Dando to finally return to music will surely find much to enjoy here.

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