ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 12, 2009
By Steve Newton
Hugh Dillon has gone through a lot of changes since those days in the ’90s when he was portraying self-destructive punk rocker Joe Dick in the movie Hard Core Logo and fronting Toronto hard-rock act the Headstones. Nowadays you’re more likely to see the former Mohawk-sporting or shaggy-haired rebel with his head completely shaved, playing world-weary homicide detectives or macho SWAT team members in the TV series Durham County and Flashpoint.
But while Dillon has been focusing on TV and film work of late, Works Well With Others is proof that he’ll always have rock ’n’ roll to fall back on if that acting career should falter.
The now-dapper Dillon has totally dropped the in-your-face guitar rock of the Headstones in favour of material that covers a lot of ground and allows him to play the pop poet more than the riffmonger, to be way more Lenny (Cohen) than Lemmy.
This album is a tricky bugger—it takes repeated listens to fully appreciate and you have to sidestep the odd dud—but there are a number of extremely enjoyable rock tunes to be unearthed among the 14 tracks, 12 of which were impeccably produced by Tragically Hip guitarist Paul Langlois.
By far the most impressive track is “Well On Your Way”, which catches your attention with the opening line (“Well I have kissed the stars and the police cars”) and keeps you transfixed with its melodic twists and jangly turns, showcasing the skills of the same gifted sidemen who loaned their talents to the Hugh Dillon Redemption Choir project of 2005—guitarist J.P. Polsoni, bassist Chris Osti, keyboardist Ben Kobayashi, and drummer Derek Downham.
After hearing how Dillon’s casual, off-the-cuff vocals meld so winningly with their inventive instrumentation on sharply arranged standouts like “Radio Plays”, “Bottom of a Dream”, and “Ignore That Call” you’ll come away agreeing that the guy really does work well with others.