My copy of Dreamcatcher arrived yesterday and I've already played it 10 times though. I love it!! It's warm, fresh and contemporary without being trendy. It also reminds me a bit of AoP in that the songs make me think of sand, sun and rum. If I had to sum up the CD in a few words, I'd call it mostly acoustic/soft rock with some mid-tempo rockers thrown in. Ian's singing style is similar to The Aviator and A Touch Away throughout - no screaming here. Here's my thoughts on the 14 songs:
Chandra's Coriander: Congas start it off followed by flute-sounding synth (a prominent feature on this CD). Acoustic guitar with some electric guitar flourishes, double tracked vocals, reminds me of Peter Gabriel, lots of space b/t the instruments, well balanced, nice song.
Prima Donna: IG's vocals are in the foreground along with strummed acoustic guitar and simple percussion ( traditional sounding drums are missing from many of the songs - I found myself thinking, "Is that a drum machine I'm hearing on some of them?"), electric piano at the choruses, electric guitar solo. A grower. At first, I thought is was okay, now it's one of my favorites.
All In My Mind: Acoustic guitar with synth and piano balancing the vocals, busy rhythm track in the background, acoustic and electric guitars for the solo. A strong isle feel, not a bad song at all, but not a favorite either.
That's Why God is Singin' the Blues: I love this tune - one of my favorites!! Ian didn't write it. I think his web page said a friend in Portugal wrote it. Anyhow, musically, it's the simpliest track on the CD - just vocals, finger snaps and some very simple guitar pickin' (could that be Ian playing?). A little bass too. Kind of folky. Fabulous lyrics!!
Gunga Din: The first non-acoustic track sounds like a sped up Irish jig. Mostly synth and electric guitar. Trad. rock drums and bass. I like it.
Hard on You: One of the 4 tracks written by the Repo Depo line-up. Those 4 tunes are different from the rest in the CD in that they're the rockers and sound more "band-like" (as oppose to music from a solo artist - if that makes sense). It's a mid-tempo rocker with flute-sounding synth, fuzzy electric guitar, and busy rhythm section. Good song, but I haven't warmed to this ones lyrics, yet.
Sleepy Warm: A soft, pretty love song. The flute/synth is the prominent instrument with a poly-rhythmic backing track and an electric solo. The title of the CD comes from this tune.
Country Mile: Another favorite of mine. A simple song of strummed acoustic guitar with electric flourishes. Easy listening sort of tune. It reminds me of driving the desert with nothing around for miles. No keys on this one. Love it!
You Sold My Love For A Song: This one is "I Though No" from AoP revised. Similar melody, fun lyrics, nice walking bass (I'm such a sucker for those). The only song with harmonica (in the intro and first solo); second solo is electric guitar. I like this song.
A Day Late N' A Dollar Short: One of the Repo Depo tunes. Starts off with some epic-sounding synth playing followed by some loud electric guitar. Ian sings a little harder on this one. Definitely a "band-sounding" song. Longer solo. Reminds me a tad of CFOR. Super song.
Sugar Plum: A Repo Depo tune - one of the rockers. The first time I heard it I thought it sounded a bit like Def Leppard's "Let Get Rocked", rhythm-wise. Similar to "A Day Late..." with some airy-sounding synth and serious lyrics.
Anyway You Want Me (That's How I Will Be): A cover tune I'm not familiar with, but it sounds like it's from the '50s or early '60s. It reminds me of the Honeydrippers "Sea of Love", something you'd slow dance to at a school dance, back then. Another favorite of mine.
High Ground: A Repo Depo song. Electric guitar, busy drums, a slow burner. Not a bad track, but not a stand out either.
Sleepy Warm (alt. version): Nearly the same as the first one. I couldn't tell them apart until I went and played the first Sleepy back-to-back with this one. This one has a little less instrumentation. Less synth and less guitar. The solo doesn't stand out as much. I think I like this version better.
That's it for the songs. As for the packaging, the slim booklet's art work was tastefully done by Steve Campbell. My CD came with an insert all in Japanese. One of the pages seems to explain the making of Dreamcatcher (damn, I wish I knew what it said). Another page is a chronological biography of Ian. The other two pages are the lyrics in both Japanese and English, although there seems to be some additional commentary in Japanese that wasn't translated into English.
I don't know if it's necessary to order the Japan release for the bonus tracks if the CD is going to be released domestically in your country. Really, all you're getting is one more tune. However, if you live in the US (or Mongolia) and have to import it .....ah, might as well go for the whole enchilada, I say!
I think it's a stunning solo album, the best one Ian's ever done. I hope it does well for him. I know I will be playing it endlessly for quite a while.