Tymon Dogg - Made of Light (Cover Artwork)

Tymon Dogg

Made of Light (2015)

Thin Man Music

Say what you want, but “Lose This Skin” is one of my favorite songs by The Clash. Not just one of my favorite songs off of Sandinista!, but one of the favorite songs by the band. Period. Leading that idiosyncratic track’s warbled charge are Tymon Dogg’s distinctive, quavering vocals. Joe Strummer would take Dogg under his wings, eventually working with the singer-songwriter during his tenure with the Mescaleros. “A Pound of Grain” from Dogg’s latest album, Made of Light, was originally written with Strummer. It would be easy to assume that Strummer’s spectre looms large over this album, but that would be incorrect. Sure, there are some broadly political lyrics and impassioned shouts, but Made of Light is an eclectic collection of songs with their toes dipped in folk, psychedelic rock, and baroque pop.

“Conscience Money” and “Time For Moving On” kick the album off with a calm tone. Both tracks are reminiscent of Richard Thompson’s post-Fariport Convention output. “Made of Light” floats on pianos, strings and Spanish guitar and “Rock Box Hammer” saunters in as an Irish folk inspired instrumental as it builds and descends. “Like I Used to Be” sounds like bedroom pop akin to the less washed out work of Ariel Pink (or the less psychedelic work of R. Stevie Moore (or Michael Stasis (you get the point)). It goes without saying that Dogg experiments with several different types of music. Yet, he’s able to ground it all in his unique voice and takes ample advantage of his multi-instrumentalist talents.

The main drawback about the album is that it’s a bit bloated. Dogg’s solo releases have been spare and spread out, so it’s easy to assume that he has a large backlog of tracks that he’s itching to release. Still, this album could have used an editor. Some tracks outwear their welcome while others could have been expunged altogether. “As I Make My Way” is a mediocre track that is made redundant by the album’s superior and similar title track. “Walking Down the Road” sounds like a song sketch that never got fully fleshed out. “Modern Art” fumbles at it’s intentions, but manages to squeezes by with its endearingly strange lyrical content.

Tymon Dogg has led an interesting life, even as just a sideman. He’s had a hand in some great tracks and his talent is obvious. Made of Light proves that he can cobble together a solid set of tracks, but as a whole the album doesn't extend past a simple and pleasant experience.