At the time of this writing, BoDeans’ founders Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas have stopped working with each other after being together for over a quarter-century. For reasons not entirely known-except between Neumann and Llanas-tension had been building to the point where Llanas failed to show up to a gig back in August. Neumann went chugging right along like nothing really happened by hiring a replacement while Llanas used the opportunity to announce plans for an upcoming solo record.
So it looks like Indigo Dreams-released just weeks before the falling out-might be the last Bo Deans album featuring Kurt and Sammy.
Does Indigo Dreams hint at any discourse?
It sounds like another middle-of-the road release that places the band comfortably in adult contemporary territory without ruffling any feathers with adjectives like “challenging” or “new direction.”
It’s pleasingly consistent with well-rehearsed harmonies, capable arrangements and everything you’d expect from a band who’s already proven to be fully capable with this stuff, and maybe that was Llanas’ problem all along.
With each big gesture chorus, every vintage organ and obligatory accordion, the band falls bootstep into a formula perfected with decades of routine and endless gigging. There’s no hint of inner turmoil because the BoDeans probably had Indigo Dreams cleaned and gutted before the record button was even pressed.
The animosity then, may come with having to trudge across the country once more with someone where the spontaneity died years before. The familiarity and ease in which the two fall into place is both reassuring and the album’s only complaint.
The opening track “Blowing My Mind” brings up some overly familiar Stones’ riff while “Rock ’N Roll Overdrive” barely gains traction with its embarrassingly clichéd of an up and coming band fightin the man, describing it as feeling “like a power train in rock and roll overdrive”
“Father’s Day” actually sounds good enough to qualify as Neumann having a point for trying it alone and “Way Down” has Llanas mirroring a decent Tom Petty tune.
But there’s nothing that’s required listening for anyone who’s not already a BoDeans fan or someone who’d like to navigate beyond the comfortable soft underbelly of white, middle age.
And while the idea of a BoDeans without Sammy aboard doesn’t sound right before a note has been recorded, Indigo Dreams suggest that he and Kurt may have been sleepwalking through their final record together anyway.