Bernard Fanning’s fourth solo album is filled with questions: “Will you lay down beside me and put your skin on mine?” he proposes in opening cut, Shed My Skin; “How many times can we say we’ve hit the bottom and still find a way further down?” he wonders in How Many Times?; “How’d we end up here like souvenirs from another time?” he ponders in Fighting for Air; and in the break-up ballad In the Ten Years Gone, he asks, poignantly, “With all the thinking that you’ve done, did the answers ever come?”
Fanning is joined by some special guests, including Rob Hirst, Clare Bowditch and Wolfmother’s Ian Peres, but his vocal remains the star of the show, bringing his poetry to life. Song for song, Brutal Dawn doesn’t quite match the magic of its predecessor, though In the Ten Years Gone and Somewhere Along the Way, alone, are worth the price of admission. For latecomers, Somewhere Along the Way is an exquisite entry point. With its shuffling beat, it recalls Crosby Stills Nash & Young, with Fanning singing, “Pleased to meet you, I hope our paths cross again.”
Brutal Dawn is out May 26 via Dew Process.