Ian Bouras’ “A Cure for Reality” Re-Issue LP
Ian Bouras’ A Cure for Reality isn’t new work from the gifted composer and guitarist. This reissue of his 2007 solo debut continues to sustain the same artistic and commercial relevance defining its initial reception, but it offers opportunity for listeners to appreciate his time-tested talents. Longtime admirers will appreciate Bouras revisiting one of the seminal releases of his twenty plus year musical trip and newcomers will provide several adherents certain to follow his work from this point forward.
It isn’t difficult to get a near-spiritual feeling from some of Bouras’ work. “The Call”, for instance, boasts a melody guaranteed to carry listeners away. It isn’t brimming with pomp and circumstance. Bouras, instead, has a total command of playing fundamentals underpinning his creative twists with the guitar. Effects play an important role in the direction of his material. “Latte” shows how he intermingles six-string work with an assortment of electronic instruments such as programmed drums, sequencers, synthesizers, and keyboards. The opening duo begins A Cure for Reality on quite a memorable note.
“Nip” practically dispenses with the classical elements heard so far in favor of a much more risky approach. There’s a charged inspired mood some will hear in the heart of this song, he’s quite unabashed about upending listener’s expectations, and it may have a dizzying effect on some listeners. It’s never gratuitous, however. “Five-Four” begins on a primal note, without ever verging on overkill, but soon finds its range as one of the best grooves included on this album. He’s obviously focused on delivering musical performances placing a high premium on feel and this is one of its best moments.
“A Cure for Reality” is cut from the same general cloth as “Nip”. It hinges much more on electronica than the idiosyncratic rhythms and percussion highlighting the latter. It has wide appeal despite its electronica strengths and stands as one of the collection’s most substantive cuts. There are rock inklings percolating during the track “PM” never go too far. They are crouched within his customary open-ended structure, and they gather unusual power in this setting; it is familiar territory with an extra twist.
Outright special effects help fill out Bouras’ vision for the track “Frustrated”. The restless pacing footsteps heard during the composition are never distracting from the song’s musical intentions. He incorporates a small array of special effects to help pull this track off without ever cheapening its substance for listeners and the track, in the end, is among the best added to this release. “Traffic” is A Cure for Reality’s last major track. It’s an ambitious compendium of various staple Bouras approaches that, nevertheless, achieves an impressive final effect on listeners.
Bouras’ album can and should be heard as the concluding chapter of his first act. He experienced more success than most during his salad days, earning plaudits twice from Billboard Magazine as one of the indie music scene’s brightest songwriting lights, but later health difficulties likely short circuited further development in this mold. It has not dated at all in the near fourteen plus years since its release.