Wyatt Blair - Point of No Return - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Wyatt Blair - Point of No Return

by Amy Putman Rating:3 Release Date:2016-08-12

I had help listening to this album.  To be honest, I needed help.  I was having a day of strange occurrences that had left me discombobulated, half wondering if I had died and gone to limbo, a la Lost, half wondering if I had transversed into a parallel dimension in my sleep.  One of the closest strings, where everything is almost as it should be, but in the shade of the uncanny.

It started with a simple drive down the road.  All ordinary enough, until I passed a giant baby balloon, a man on a fence dressed as a T-Rex, and a hedge cut into the words 'I heart JESUS', all in the time it takes to get from Shipley to Greengates (about ten minutes, for non-Bradford initiates).

After that, things got a little stranger, or at least the strangeness was more profound than passing.  I won't detail all of the fantastical elements of that unusual day.  In the words of the trailer for Bachaana, there was action; there was drama; there was comedy; there was romance.

I don't mean to complain; it was a welcome adventure after a couple of relatively turgid years, but it was a shock to the system like stepping under a waterfall, or a heavy summer shower; beautiful, but shaking one to the core.  In the best way, I was slapped to, but it left me reeling, searching for my footing.  It's one of the states I love the most, but I needed help to compose my whirling mind and pause long enough to listen.

Enter, stage left, wise woman, not pursued by a bear.

After the inevitable question of whether Wyatt Blair was related to the manic Tony (not at all), we furrowed our concentrating brows, sipped our concentration tea, and pricked up our concentrated ears.

It started so well.  The first track had us grinning at each other with excited discovery; Dancing On A Dream is the kind of Van Halen cheesy stadium rock we both love.  It had hints of Kiss; hints of Kenny Loggins; hints of more generic 80's stuff that coloured the decade, like unidentifiable elements of Bananarama.

In other words, it was all I wanted from Wyatt Blair.  It was exuberant and hazy, cheerful and epic, tacky as hell and relentlessly appealing; it was fun.

I think it was too good.  It left such a sour taste in the mouth when the next tracks couldn't keep it up.  It was like having the best drunken night ever, falling asleep with unbrushed teeth and not even waking to morning wood.

It's not that any of the rest of it was hangover-awful.  It's just wasn't the hubba-bubba, jumpsuit, mid-air splits, big hair, fireball I wanted after the first track.  He's not the only artist to put everything into his opening (hur hur), but somehow this lapse was worse than theirs because this track was better than any of theirs; it fell further from the ecstatic exemplary, down a stiff drop into the average.

The rest of the album, in fairness, was pleasant, 80's sauced indie.  There's nothing to fault it.  It's just that, like non-Dangerzone Kenny Loggins, it's a little uninspired.  I'm sure many, many people will like it, in the way that people love Gogglebox and strawberry yoghurt.  For the same reason Cath Kidston is popular.  Most people want pretty unchallenging stuff.  Not even kitsch, just easy; the palatable branded as yummy, rather than actively, dramatically delicious.

I'm afraid that, like Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that. 

It was an odd feeling to finish a surreal, intense day with something... normal. 

It's a shame Wyatt Blair faced such album impotence on this one.  He's a sexy guy; he moves and shakes and does something pretty damn cool.  If he could only keep himself in the Dangerzone-zone without prematurely climaxing, then his future releases could be outstanding.

He has shown that 80's revival can be thrilling, but he needs to resist the impulse to return to the safe.  Don't be Ice Man, Wyatt; be Maverick.  Never be Goose.  Just... be surreal in your intensity.  Be Kiss; be Aerosmith; be lively and original, whatever decade you borrow from.  Bring action; bring comedy; bring drama; bring romance.

If all else fails, get help from a wise woman... or get pursued by a bear.

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