One thing I can count on as a reviewer here is always getting interesting and unusual releases, often by artists I've never heard of with associations with other musicians, bands and projects that I have heard of. Such is the case with London's Lee Simeone. Lee released his first album, 'The Dream Weaver' in 2009 on the indie Le Coq Musique label. (Ex-Adam and the Ants bass player Kevin Mooney played on one of the tracks.) Haven't heard it but it was said to get pretty good reviews. Simeone also worked with a number of other artists including Karel Fialka, Paul Reynolds (ex-Flock Of Seagulls), Gary Asquith (Renegade Soundwave), Alan Rear (Tony Mansfield, Miguel Bosé), and Ex- original Cockney Rebel bandmate Milton-Reame James. He also did production/remastering work on Men At Work's 2014 'Still Life,' vinyl reissue, and co-produced a documentary film on the band titled "You Better Taske Cover". Okay, so Lee has a lot of cred, and a wealth of studio experience. So why then does 'Best Seat in the Dream' sound like an amateur recording at best? A somewhat interesting amateur recording, but one that doesn't quite sound ready for prime-time.
Although Simeone puts forth a big sound, there is a lack of clarity in the mix, and direction in the song structure. It all begins with the swell of synths in "Sky Blue Tattoo," the instrumental opener that starts a nice theme that somehow gets lost in the sauce the longer it progresses. The soaring guitar that should have been riding over the top just isn't, and the latter part of the track with just (heavily strummed) guitar chords and an innocuous lead line goes nowhere. "Channeling Affection" sounds like My Bloody Valentine rehearsing with a drum machine back in 1983. Vocals are buried and the song seems aimless giving it little characteristic other than a shoegazey feel. "Dromsally Rise" has more pop song character, and Simeone's voice is a bit Lennonesque. Yet it still veers into odd, atmospheric places abandoning its pop beginning after a verse and chorus, and wanders into ambient space. The swathed in reverb ballad "Yours Nocturnally" sounds nice but suffers from vocals mostly buried in the mix. "Vertigo Romeo" has cool rhythm and flow but its semi-psych vocal and instrumental parts seem to meander too much to allow for anything to latch onto. "Star Lane" has a Legendary Pink Dots quality about it but once again, the vocals are too far back to make an impact. There are some really good ideas on 'Best Seat in the Dream' but none of them reach their potential and sound more like rough demos than anything else. If this is really the best seat in the dream, maybe it's time to wake up and smell the coffee.