By Maria Caetano
Thought all romantic kings of the singing lounges were long gone. Sigh. Dim the lights. Think again. Slicked back hair and heart on a sleeve, you’ll find Tame Impala’s bass man, Cameron Avery, on a solo yearning of late crooning love, part plaintive, part jump-on-my-ride innuendo, going through the tenets of blues and soul, R&B and rock.
Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams is Avery’s first album under his own name, after having had the side project The Growl and playing drums and bass for bands Pond and Tame Impala, respectively. The record atmosphere is one of revering musical citations of Elvis, Cohen and big band times, artfully re-enacted for present days. Avery, with a captivating baritone voice, acts his grand part soulfully.
All about love, the lyrics are straight and distilled from the classics. In Dance With Me, Avery goes through Leonard Cohen’s immortalised vocabulary as an eulogy: “Take my hand / ‘Cause I’ll be your man / We’ll never have to borrow / Or steal or starve, no it’s not that hard, if you just dance with me.” Marching drums and guitars add to back vocals and short violin phrases.
Watch Me Take It Away is a different weave. Blues and testosterone meet in a three-speed song, one of the most interesting of the whole album, with Avery in character. “I’ve got a bona fide leopard hide jacket, babe / I’ll let you wear it all day if you say that you’ll be mine / This ain’t a take-your-time, sip-your-lime-soda kind of offer, babe /So try it on /Watch me take it away / Watch me take it away.”
In Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, the Australian musician is pausing on the psychedelic pop and rock that we’ve known him for in his group projects and digging into his own musical influences, doing so with the qualities of a great performer. The record was coincidentally produced in Los Angeles, the land of the acting dreams. The result has somehow been such imprint of showmanship and old-time nostalgia.
Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams
ANTI- Records, 2017