The irony of Dig Deep Repeat is that it sounds expansive, despite being cut in the heart of the pandemic when PM Warson decided to counter his boredom with another record, and although the finished work isn’t as tight as True Story, the sophomore album is a strong exhibition of his innate talent, both as a recording artist and a performer. The album opens with the jaunty ‘Insider’, which flits between bouncy and barren, a cascading melody floating over a choppy guitar hook.
From this point, the album takes a strange detour into more jaunty territories, especially the frenzied ‘Leaving Here’, which sounds like a rollicking outtake from Paul McCartney’s Wildlife album, and the guitars are wet with rage, urgency and temper. Consequently, the album ends up being a taut record, one that serves more as a go-to guide for the stage shows that are set to follow in the coming months, and the LP uses little studio techniques in an effort to bring more clarity, cohesion and character to the work. There’s a fascinating edge to the vocals in question, as Lawson sings from the bottom of his gut, deeply immersed in the world he has created, nary a note wasted or misplaced.
It’s easy to get irritated by the production design, which is airy at times, and there’s an upfront cutesiness to the project that might put off fans looking for a denser work, detailing the failings of mankind. But then again, that’s what makes the Dig Deep Repeat so engaging to listen to — it showcases a musician enjoying the surroundings that he has made out for him. And with ‘Out of Mind’, Warson delivers one aphorism that suggests that the immediacy of the moment isn’t as assured as the message at the end.
Whether it is desperation or distraction that brings the animal out of the vocalist is difficult to ascertain, but there is a great deal at offer in the fine print, as the singer showcases a resolve, a rebellion and a rumble that feels like it’s tipping a hat back to the Rod Stewart albums of yore.
As a result, this is as insular as the barrelling blues-rock records of the mid-1970s, but considerably more playful, since it coincides, after all, with the growing need to bring joy and fun to the masses recovering from a post-Covid-19 malaise. The album presents an escapist outlet, capped by moments of genuinely impressive exhibits of vocal prowess.
Judging by the intensity of the singing, Warson’s best decision would be to release a live album next, in an effort to match the essence of the genre he so gratefully aspires to catch. Out of the nine tracks, ‘Matter of Time’ is the one that seems destined to improve on the stage, and from the bustling energy, the cracks, creaks and chuckles only seem to shape the singer in a newer, more radiant form of music. And with only his second album, Warson has proven himself an artist worthy of attention and thought, which should only get more impressive as the years go by.