Saturday, February 6, 2010

Review: Dream of Sleeping, May All My Delusions Come True

The last song I heard before the sudden change of's layout was Dream of Sleeping's "Cracked Lips, Dry Skin." I saved it, logged in the next morning and ... holy re-launch, Batman. Since Dream of Sleeping was a new artist, I felt awful for him: he never had the chance to experience all the music-radio site had to offer. And when I read that he was getting trashed by reviews, I knew I had to step in and level the playing field a bit.

Part of the weariness seems to be reviewers saying, "Oh great, another solo artist," which I think is missing the point entirely. The fact that a single musician can carry an album (something that usually takes an entire band) makes me pay more attention, not less. The fact that it's indie accoustic music doesn't diminish its charm. And on that note, let me begin my review.

Dream of Sleeping is Neil Cartmell, and his music is reminiscent of snow falling gently on a cool day. (The cover art helps with this image, but my point stands.) "Scar" is a good opener to the album, and draws the listener right in. I do have to agree with the reviewers on "Why How When," since the drums go nuts and overpower the song. But the lyrics are great, and it's nothing a good remix can't clean up. The album jumps right back on track with "On a Paper Plane," which is a beautiful song.

The guitar work in "Changing Times" is positively melodious, and the title track, "May All My Delusions Come True," gets at the heart of the album: dissatisfaction with the status quo. That theme is continued in "The Longest Day," which starts with the lyrics: "What will you do when you grow bored with me, and nothing is how it used to be, and nothing is how you want?" It's a sparse, haunting song.

"December Something" starts off with some great piano work, and the vocals remind me of Michael Stipe from REM. "Wait In Line" is positively heart-wrenching, and my only complaint is that it doesn't go on long enough. However, "Cracked Lips, Dry Skin" is the clear star of the album, and I can picture it being used on an episode of Chuck. It's low-key, filled with emotion, and perfectly performed. The last song is the wryly titled "No One Listens to the Last Track," a short and simple outro.

Overall, it's a great album, and many good things can be said about it. So, do I have any advice for Neil? Well, don't give up yet. Get on sites like that allow you to connect with listeners, give away a song or two for free, and record some more music videos. Something to help your music grab listeners' attention. And don't put too much stock in bad reviews: everyone gets them. Make music to please yourself and your fans, and you won't be disappointed.

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