"Better By Now" by Joe DolmanReview
Happy New Music Friday to you all!
To celebrate the day, Joe Dolman has a brand new single "Better By Now" out for your delectation.
It seems only days since I reviewed his last single "If You Were Mine" (which is pretty true: it was only on October 11th). In that article, I ruminated on how artists might retain their key characteristics while also creating songs with enough variety to demonstrate their breadth of vision & to keep their output fresh.
Naturally with an artist of this calibre, he keeps on challenging & overcoming this paradox, gradually building a diverse body of work all of which is immediately identifiable as "Joe". No wonder his career is on the dynamic trajectory that it is....
"Better By Now" could scarcely sound less like "If You Were Mine": this comes from an entirely different place on his sonic palette. Much more from the rockier end of his repertoire, the track is taut & punchy, driven by virtually every element of the arrangement in turn from the lead vocals to the urgent strumming & snappy massed backing vocals. It arrives, drives it points home & then leaves off once they have been said in a startlingly brisk two & three quarter minutes. There is no room for messing around here.
Yet as I have said, despite the change of pace, the core artistic values of Joe's artistry remain constant: the song is subtly arranged & craftily builds dynamics & as often, the lyrics are a sensitive perspective on aspects of relationships which reek with sincerity.
It has instantly become a favourite of mine... the impact is that immediate.
Yet another one to grace his live set & set the hearts of the audience a-flutter, it's worth perhaps also having a look at the context of his work. This is a really hard worker who gigs frequently & when not performing seems constantly writing & recording: yet he always has time it seems to support local music generally both at gigs & in playing with other artists. His career is involving ever more prestigious venues yet even that somewhat conceals the pressures & work which goes into putting them on. Possibly the two biggest & most anticipated gigs for 2019 were at The Assembly in Leamington & Islington's O2 Academy yet neither has gone to plan which must be pretty challenging to face. Nevertheless Joe worked to swiftly "move" the Assembly gig to All Saints Church in Leamington on December 6th (scene of his iconic 2018 gig & subsequent live EP) & the London date has been rescheduled too (it's now on February 27th). Giving into adversity doesn't seem an option & without doubt both gigs will be full of his ever growing fanbase (best get your tickets for the Leamington gig sharpish though as I believe there are very few left).
Finally, a word on the eye catching if not disconcerting sleeve art. In fact I'll leave that word to its creator, Émilie Cotterill: "It could be photomanipulation... but it could also be that his reflection sometimes has a mind of its own". Intriguing......