A short while ago, Blabber’n’Smoke praised Set Your Sights Towards The Sun, a delightful album from The Lost Doves, a collaboration between Ian M Bailey and Charlotte Newman. Now we have to hand an EP recorded by Bailey and which snuck out in January. The title suggests that Bailey still has his controls set for the heart of the sun, not in a Pink Floyd context, but delving ever deeper in the sun infused pop and rock of California in the ‘60s and early ‘70s.
As with Set Your Sights, Bailey has worked in collaboration with another musician, in this case Glasgow’s Daniel Wylie, ex of Cosmic Rough Riders and no slouch himself when it comes to delivering sun speckled jangly rock. While it’s Bailey who sings and plays all the instruments on the four songs here, all are co-authored with Wylie, with Bailey giving Wylie credit for the initial seeds which eventually flourished into what we can hear now.
Unabashedly retro and with 12 string Rickenbacker often to the fore, the songs here are genuine nuggets, although there is enough variety on show to enable each one to stand alone. The opening track, Take It Or Leave It, has its chiming 12-string surge but is also adorned with piping organ providing brass like flourishes allowing for a kind of melange of baroque pop and new wave energy. What’s happening Now is much more mellow as it floats along with an ethereal air, recalling elements of David Crosby circa Younger Than Yesterday with Bailey adding a lovely backwards sounding guitar solo midway. His three part harmonies here are spot on and, in a blindfold test, it would be hard not to consider this a long lost ‘60s gem.
Slow Down River packs more of a punch as it zips along, recalling the likes of Teenage Fanclub or Dropkick in its zest and handclapping propulsion but it kind of pales in comparison to its companions, especially the excellent closing number. Everything Will Be Alright gathers together much of what made early ‘70s LA rock so popular and in particular, it hones in on a band, America, who were initially considered copyists even back then with their Neil Young sound-alike songs. Hitching a lift on Ventura Highway, Bailey positively glides along this sun blissed two-lane blacktop with joyous inspiration.