John Nolan lays out an intriguing tangle of influences and ideas on his ambitious, wildly eclectic new solo album "Sad, Strange, Beautiful Dream" (PledgeMusic).
The Taking Back Sunday guitarist-singer and former Straylight Run frontman tries on some synth pop in the title track, rocks about the apocalypse ("It's the End of the World!"), gets political about drone strikes ("War Is Peace") and draws influence from acoustic Bob Dylan ("How Much") and electric Bob ("Street Robbery Blues"). There's also a gorgeous lullaby called "I'll Be Home Soon" that captures the mixed emotions rocker parents get when they go on tour.
It's a tribute to Nolan as a songwriter and producer Mike Sapone that "Sad, Strange Beautiful Dream" still sounds cohesive -- whether the Baldwin native is balancing two sides of his personality in the well-crafted "Drinking Your Way to Confidence" or chronicling a night out in a Long Island dance bar in "American Nightclub 1999."
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