Alissa – “Dreamcatcher” – Single Review
Well now…this is something.
Aside from the release of an impressively versatile set of songs on a previous EP called #Love2PointZero and an admission of being “99% human” on her social-media page at Facebook…I didn’t really know what I was in for with Alissa’s music, or anything to do with what she’s all about really. A little mystique can go a long way sometimes…and I’d argue that this is indeed one of those times; when I pushed play on Alissa’s “Dreamcatcher” for the very first time, I was blown away by how much more dimension & depth, creativity, imagination, and expression there was to be found in comparison to the average singer/songwriter out there.
But you see…that’s just the thing…Alissa’s not your ‘average’ anything at all. She’s got somethin’ special goin’ on.
Honestly, the potential is staggering here…”Dreamcatcher” is one of the more insightfully artistic designs I’ve heard flow throughout a song in quite some time. It’s guaranteed to surprise you – and that’s an aspect of music your ears should always be looking forward to. From the humble way this song begins, to the monumental epic it becomes, “Dreamcatcher” will provide you with an adventurous and ambitious experience that’s stocked full of exciting twists & turns – and you’d likely never see it coming from the low-key way this single starts out. I found an immediate connection to this song…Alissa’s soulful & expressive way of singing provides the comfort & welcoming sound you want to lead you in, and she continually summons even more confidence in the most energetic parts of “Dreamcatcher.” What I LOVED instantly was the hook of the title itself; because it’s truly rare to hear one as satisfying & small as this one is…the moment Alissa sang that for the first time around the 1:20 mark, it felt like the perfect conclusion…the execution gave me that feeling of ‘yup, she nailed that’ the moment I heard it. And of course there’s no denying that’s what ya want in a hook, no matter how small of a fraction it may play in a song overall. Alissa singing the title is a mere fragment of the song, but it makes a huge impact. It was the sheer completeness in the idea that stunned me the most…given the level of creativity on display throughout this song, hitting that conclusiveness in the hook of “Dreamcatcher” worked 100%.
She’s clearly got confidence and true conviction in the commitment to her craft – you can totally tell from the versatility of “Dreamcatcher” and the diverse array of sound & style you’ll experience as it plays. Like any artist fairly new to the scene, you’ll hear some spots where Alissa still has room to grow and evolve – which is always a good thing – but you’ll also hear many moments that already reveal she’s a cut above the rest and capable of really extraordinary art. In my opinion, the clever complexity in a song like “Dreamcatcher,” and how it comes across so smoothly in its transitions & continually raises the stakes on its shiny widespread appeal…that alone deserves a serious shout-out. Alissa makes a few stylistic choices here & there along the way that might flirt with the line for what seems like a natural fit – but for the vast majority of “Dreamcatcher,” it’s the main star of the show that leads this song to victory. Alissa’s a fantastically expressive singer with a ton of swagger & soul, and she’s also capable of bringing a genuinely beautiful melody straight-up to the surface on command whenever the song calls for it. You can hear she’s the kind of singer to really go for it in the moment – and hearing her surge through parts like around the 2:15-ish mark to the third minute reveal just how much of a real force she is to be reckoned with. She reminds me of like…something like a cross between the pop-inclinations of a singer like Sonya Madan of Echobelly, and the legendary voice of The Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde…yet the results of such a crossover combination come out completely different than either of them, and completely identifiable to Alissa’s own signature style. “Dreamcatcher” is a theatrical & dramatic experience, filled with emotions that blossom from the lefts & rights of your speakers; it’s as inventive in its structure as it is authentically captivating to listen to it all play out. It’s the kind of song where you truly root for the main star and you’re in Alissa’s corner from the very beginning…you want a gorgeous melody like you’ll find at the beginning of this single to carry on and find that next-level, which “Dreamcatcher” does time & again. From the catchy way that Alissa sings the chorus to its stunning conclusion…or moments like around the 1:25 mark when you can hear the guitar start to come out, before it bursts into an incredible solo alongside the essential piano that’s been with us the whole time like your very best friend…I mean c’mon people…she’s crushin’ it in multiple ways. There’s a magic in the way she hits her most confident stride around the 2:30 mark, and just as much beauty to be found when the energy deconstructs and her vocals slide dreamily into the mix soon afterwards. At her most melodically spot-on, Alissa’s downright mesmerizing…like, listen to the way the song opens up, and take note of just how bang-on the switch in her energy is when “Dreamcatcher” transitions into its lively hooks…that’s where you hear just how much she’s capable of as a performer. Alissa’s got that intangible X-factor that could lead her to unimaginable success…and I’ve got no doubt that the best she’s got is still yet to come, despite how impressive a tune like “Dreamcatcher,” is and how much it confirms she’s got everything it takes to reach her goals in this music biz.
This is an excitingly fresh single and an artistically inspired one at that. Hearing the way the piano flowed so perfectly, the drums found the right swing for the energy in the song’s most isolated or intense moments, and the vocals continually displayed noteworthy passion…the brilliant tone of the guitars, the gentle glow of the strings in the background…the spark of the melodic chorus of “Dreamcatcher” – I could go on & on, but you get the point…everything powerfully stacks up here. It led me right to the #Love2PointZero EP…and spinning that record proved to be equally exceptional – it’s clear that Alissa had herself an amazing set of breakthroughs in 2019 and she’s carrying that momentum into 2020 big-time. Like…listen to the very first track on the EP, called “About Love” and how breathtaking its sound, atmosphere, structure, mood, instrumentation – and of course vocals, are. Somewhere in between the fourth & fifth minute, I become so blissfully lost in the vibe that I never wanted it to end…but of course, Alissa’s creativity comes with large doses of expressionism and diversity in sound…and you’ll find yourself going along with it all enthusiastically as she switches up the style completely throughout the record, beginning immediately with the artistically jazzy design of “Stay!” to follow. There’s “lovano,” where she sings beautifully & vibrantly in a completely different language, there’s her most isolated, haunted, emotional, and poetic sounds on “Night Celeste” before the song bursts into a colorful Bjork-like frenzy of melodic vocals and a brilliant sound-collage to go with it, and you’ll find that inspired artistic approach to each of the songs on the record, right to its final moments with the last song “Rain.” Essentially, each cut you’ll hear from Alissa has true merit for the ideas, music, and vocals you’ll experience…no doubt about it, she’s certainly on my radar. After everything I’ve heard here from “Dreamcatcher” to #Love2PointZero, it’s clear that she’s committed to putting real art into the design of her music & vocals in a sincere effort to create unique & memorable songs that’ll stick with ya, & she’s given me every reason to believe she’s headed for the best years of her career to come.
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