The wonderfully melodic piano, eclectic stringed instruments and percussion should logically overwhelm the gossamer vocal; somehow, they frame it instead. Thomas Bartlett's voice is a hypnotic island of stillness and a constant in an album of rich musical variety.
Favorite track: From Silence.
Doveman is Thomas Bartlett and his select group of collaborators. On his latest album, The Conformist, those players include Sam Amidon, Nico Muhly, Glen Hansard (Swell Season, The Frames, Once), Norah Jones, Dawn Landes, Beth Orton, Martha Wainwright and The National members Matt Berninger, Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, and Bryan Devendorf.
Of Doveman's new record, Hansard says, "The Conformist is just fucking beautiful. Thomas brings so much light to other people's music, it's great to see him stop long enough to apply that light to his profound sense of song. He's not afraid to go in, in where the good stuff is, in where you might get lost without a compass, in and deeper in."
Indeed Bartlett is a keyboardist who spends much of his time touring and recording with marquee acts like Antony and the Johnsons, The National, Bebel Gilberto, the Swell Season and Martha Wainwright, but The Conformist marks his third proper album as Doveman, following 2007's With My Left Hand I Raise the Dead and 2005's The Acrobat. There's also 2008's Footloose, a song-by-song cover of the film soundtrack which became an internet sensation featured in Entertainment Weekly, Stereogum, Gawker, New York Magazine and across the blogosphere - pointing to Doveman's breakout potential.
A progression from previous efforts, The Conformist retains the melancholy, whisper quiet, night time music feel of his previous records, while adding more upbeat undercurrents like sing along choruses (i.e. "Breathing Out"), drum machines and synths ("Memorize," "Hurricane"), and the arranging and playing prowess of close friends Nico Muhly ("Tigers") and The National ("The Best Thing," "The Cat Awoke").
Doveman is Thomas Bartlett and a select group of collaborators (most often, the band includes banjo player Sam Amidon,
drummer Dougie Bowne, guitarist and conjurer Shahzad Ismaily, and trumpeter Peter Ecklund). Together Doveman -- the Dovemen? -- make lovely, interesting, heart-rending sounds, like a broken wing flapping and starting to take flight....more