Review by Woody
Dion Bayman is a singer songwriter from Australia who has a soft rock style in the vein of Richard Marx and Bryan Adams. He contacted me to see if I’d be interested in reviewing Smoke and Mirrors so I gave a few snippets on his website a quick listen and thought his style of melodic rock would appeal to me. As this was an independent release by an artist I’d never heard of before, I didn’t rush to play the album. So I put the album on when I was doing some other things and was instantly distracted by this amazingly uplifting feel-good collection of songs. So I set aside what I was doing grabbed a beer and listened to the album properly and was totally struck by the album, loving every song and all the while there was a huge smile on my face.
Dion’s love of melodic rock is splashed all over this album and those influences are all here, but he has updated the sound a little. So you have all those huge smooth memorable choruses and beautiful musical pieces, but there’s a slightly modern tinge to all the songs. If you enjoy Richard Marx’s recent albums you’re going to adore Smoke and Mirrors.
Dion’s lyrics are a real strong point of the album, deep, thoughtful and emotional. I always enjoy songs which I can make a connection with as it’s those songs that stick with me and I continue to listen to forever so lyrics are important to me. I found it really easy to connect with these songs and I know this is an album that I’ll still be listening to in years to come. Dion has a smooth and emotive vocal style and I think that really helps give the lyrics a genuine heartfelt feel which makes the songs more powerful to me.
Dion has lavished this album with instant hooks, beautiful melodies and memorable songs. I cannot emphasise the feel good factor this album has enough it is a really pleasurable listening experience. It seems really tragic that as Dion is an independent artist this album could pass by the melodic rock community, many of whom I know would love this album just as much as me.
Albums written in this style are few and far between and obviously in varying degrees of quality and this is a style of rock that ticks all my boxes so I’m loving this near-perfect album. Dion’s delivered a masterpiece of modern AOR at its finest, uplifting and beautiful with deep, thoughtful lyrics. Dion’s emotive vocals drive the lyrics home with a real impact. A perfect feel good album for the summer, I dare you to listen to this album and not smile.
9 out of 10
- Here I Am
- All That I Am
- Over To You
- The Only One
- All My Life
- Turn Back Time