Album Review | Green Tea Productions | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 5/5
Highly melodic and Byrds-like throughout, Set Your Sights Towards the Sun evokes the sun-drenched coastline and boulevards of California, its jingle jangle mornings and cool tequila evenings, with a Rickenbacker twelve-string not too far from the action. Ian Bailey and Charlotte Newman have crafted a superb album here, which is a reminder that good songs, good arrangements and an beady eye on the past can’t do any harm. Taking care of all the instruments themselves, with the exception of drums, who the Lost Doves entrust to one Little Bobby Rockin’ Box, Ian and Charlotte work together like seasoned collaborators, neither one of them taking the obvious lead.
The title song is a powerful opener with an immediately identifiable pop sensibility, a radio song if ever there was one, best served from the console of an open top Pontiac Grand Ville, preferably red. If we’re not yet familiar with Charlotte’s shimmering voice, then “Waves” confirms our suspicions that we have something special to write home about here. This is the only song on the album written by Charlotte and I suspect there might be more where that came from. “You Stop Me from Falling” is a clear indication that these two voices have no problem in dove-tailing, a notion confirmed later on the gorgeous “Wired to You”. The lion’s share of the writing falls on Ian’s shoulders, whose seasoned credentials and ink-filled pen have the power to pull us out of our Covid doldrums. There’s a tendency to feel that someone’s having a proper blow out on “The Clowns are Coming to Town”, the album’s lone instrumental, which is almost like the album’s “Tomorrow Never Knows” moment. If “Sally Weather” is also eerily close to John Lennon, then the subliminal sitar on “More Than I” and the “Isolation” coda could be reminiscent of his former band mate George. But it has to be said, a Beatles influence really can’t be too far away on an album of such melodic beauty as this.
Choice Track: The Wishing Gate (NSV 509)