Jim Bryson says hes sick of stamping his feet in the same old puddle. Hooray for that because his restless urge to stretch his musical limits has resulted in a third solo album thats rootsier, mellower and more adult than anything weve heard from him before. Not that there was anything wrong with the jangling rock on his first two discs but the restrained arrangements of Where The Bungalows Roam allow the subtler aspects of Brysons songwriting his considered lyrics, delicate hooks and damned catchy choruses to take centre stage for a change. Quirky touches like sudden, theatrical bursts of organ and cello beckon you into this new batch of songs like a pair of bedroom eyes. This is a more tender side of Bryson, a side that was always present in his lyrical themes but one that was sometimes buried by his guitar-shredding solos. This is a lovely evolution for one of Canadas most underrated songwriters, and one that will hopefully help him finally transcend that unfortunate label.
How was the songwriting process different this time?
It was sort of an accidental record and a record of convenience, in that I was making it on stops home when I was on tour with Kathleen Edwards. Id just poke away at demos and when I had slowly accumulated about eight songs, I thought, "I might as well try recording these.
Why such a different sound on this album?
In my living arrangement I play songs really quietly because I play music quite late. And I wasnt rehearsing with a band regularly so I wasnt bringing anybody songs to bash out and sing loud. I realise theres going to be people thatll say, "wheres your guitar player and your ripping guitar solos and rock songs? but I wanted to try something different. It doesnt mean I wont make a band record ever again, but I think records should reflect how you feel and I felt that "turn up the quiet wasnt a bad idea for me.
Does that allow some of the subtler features of your songwriting to stand out?
It definitely exposes things and makes you really self-conscious about what youre singing and doing, which is a good balancer because you cant get away with things that you just could have mumbled through if you had a band. I know its a cliché to say its the most honest Ive felt making a record but really, its a record I made for myself. (Kelp)