With a face as pretty as his songs, former Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando earned a reputation as the Mazda Miata of rock: sexy and utterly lightweight. Seven years after the Lemonheads ended with a whimper, Dando's long-awaited solo debut, Baby I'm Bored, forces a reappraisal: It makes you want to dig out your copy of It's a Shame About Ray and relive its tug on the heartstrings.
What Baby I'm Bored doesn't do is make you want to press "repeat." At least not until a day or so later, when you find yourself humming the countrified chorus of "It Looks Like You" and craving that moment on "Stop My Head" when Dando intones the chillingly poignant line, "Things you've said/Stop my head" over a plunky piano tinkle. The album creeps up on you, like a crush you didn't know you had but can't do anything about.
And then you can't stop listening -- the Ben Lee-penned "Hard Drive" is more Lemonheads than the Lemonheads; the Howe Gelb-assisted "In the Grass All Wine Colored" is more Giant Sand than Giant Sand; "All My Life" is deceptively simple and simply beautiful. Where the hell has Evan Dando been? He's so much better than anyone remembered.