Canberran Balladeer DEAN ABBOTT extols communication and connection with album LETTING GO

Review by Vince Leigh

The new album from singer-songwriter Dean Abbott comes in the wake of a series of singles, an EP, and no doubt a whole bunch of followers, fans, likers, and whatever else audiences are called these days. 

Letting Go is a uniformly determined and stable set of songs, compositing a sound and style and adhering to it throughout. And, of course, Dean Abbott’s voice—amiable and textured by a faint throatiness—is the governing instrument here, delivering in a persuasive, intimacy-suggesting manner the more disquieting nature of some of the themes explored. 

Because something of an unsettling nature indeed has happened here, with lines such as ‘I’ve done a lot of healing’. Part of our curiosity mixes with part of our own personal history and that folks, is when the transference is made. 

This is a record of heart-on-a-sleeve balladeering with a few reggae-tinged tracks assigned the job of overall dynamic variance. At a sweep, this seems to work, offering the listener an opportunity to take a breather before entering the recurring realm of truth-telling. 

Or something like that. 

And Dean is aware of the problem of truth, as he states in Love To Keep, one of the more melodically effervescent songs on the album and a wise choice for opener: ‘The truth was always hard to tell / what if I got it wrong and failed?’ Dean posits a curious theory about truth, and perhaps the omission of it: do we not reveal the truth because it’s just too difficult? And what if we do reveal the truth and that failure mentioned is merely a failure of acceptance, not of telling? 

Well, there’s one thing: this record got me thinking. 

That is a particularly good part of my transference deal indeed. Thinking or feeling, either of these is acceptable. 

As highlighted in Love To Keep, there are some strong hooks welded to the sometimes-earnest sometimes-candid words Dean conjures. But the focus is a thirst for communication. As in the track—and single—Dad

Communication and connection are drivers here. In a sense, they’re the drivers of the entire album; one senses, feels, hears this need in varying degrees but it all amounts to the same thing.

[EDITOR NOTE: Dean Abbott was part of Recruitment Hive’s COVIDEO project. The Canberra 2020 COVIDEO Virtual Gigfest features video performances by the performing artists of the Canberra region “who, through their work, enlighten our lives and enrich our culture”. You can check it out by clicking here.]

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