Marine Dreams is the debut album from former Attack in Black bassist Ian Kehoe. Not that I had ever heard of Attack in Black, but they put out a couple of albums in their native Canada in the mid-to-late ‘00s before moving on to other things. Kehoe wrote and sang all the songs on this debut, but a dozen different people take on the instrumental duties. This rotating lineup leads to noticeable sonic variations from track to track, but that doesn’t really hurt the album. Kehoe has both a strong singing voice and melodic sensibility that shines through no matter who is in his backing band. It should be noted, though, that his urgent, nasal delivery often distractingly resembles a low-key John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.
Regardless of the vocal resemblance, Marine Dreams is a solid effort from top to bottom. Kehoe’s songs have a pleasing amount of variety, from the hard-charging “Sudden Dark Truths” to the slow ballad “No Face”, which is driven largely by its melodic bassline. Kehoe’s pop sensibilities are on full display on catchier tracks like “Yet to See the Sun”, “Season in Hell”, and the title track, which closes the album on a particularly high note.