Review by Ian Savage
History teaches us that frontman’s solo albums tend to go one of three ways. Sometimes they are well-made with good songs in exactly the style of the writer’s band, leaving fans wondering why they didn’t just make a *insert band here* album. They can be a pale imitation of the band abandoned for the solo project, reinforcing the idea of some bands being greater than the sum of their parts. Or they can go in a totally different direction, allowing the artist to spread their musical wings without diluting a band’s back catalogue with ‘the weird album’.
Dreamoirs takes the latter path. InMe frontman Dave McPherson has temporarily swapped the angular guitars and alt-rock angst of his band for acoustic instrumentation, sensitive lyricism and soft-footed melodies – and by God it works. If you don’t recognise McPherson’s voice there’s little here to hint at his ‘day job’, as folk and Americana influences mix with an indie-pop songwriting sensibility to produce an incredibly listenable and touching piece of work.
From the chest-tightening emotion of opener ‘Snowballs’, through the Counting Crows-esque ‘I’m Possible’, the intertwined, spiralling guitar lines of ‘Ambivert Melanconnoisseur’ to near tear-jerking closer ‘Mortals’ there’s barely a low point to the whole album. McPherson has matched superb musicianship to some outstanding songs and lyrics, the bedrock of any musical work regardless of genre, and as such ‘Dreamoirs’ can be recommended to pretty much any fan of guitar-based music. If there’s nothing here that touches, moves or inspires you, it’s not the fault of the album; it’s that you haven’t lived or loved enough.
9 out of 10
- Lady Luck
- The Wilderness
- Her Majesty’s Prism
- Grotesque is a Beautiful Word
- I’m Possible
- Relics of Don Quixote
- Ambivert Melanconnoisseur