David Arn – Walking To Dreamland – Album Review
Ummmm…can I just say I love this?
I have to admit…when I first loaded up David Arn’s SoundCloud page to listen to his latest album Walking To Dreamland I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I was greeted by what I can only assume is his actual face…unless I’m being catfished here…and there’s like…this STARE thing that he’s doing in the picture that makes you wonder what the heck he might be thinking…but it’s like the picture stares right through you, as if to say; “Just you hang on a moment…you’re about to get a whole faceload of surprise.”
Okay…those might be my words transposed onto this picture staring at me…but after pushing play the statement is true regardless of where it came from. This is a completely pleasant and welcome surprise! David Arn is making music that pulls you completely to listen intently, music that takes hold of emotions in the most sincere of ways and instantly attaches itself to you like your very best friend.
A jazzy-piano and filtered vocals welcome you into this album through the title-track “Walking Into Dreamland.” As it brings in additional, perfect guitar tones, bass and synth…this is the way you want to start out an album! The guitar just continually gets better as the song progresses confidently along, and the slow-groove this song has is definitely a perfect way to start out this audio-experience into David Arn’s world. Right from this beginning though, let me just say…very, very impressed; this is unique, it has flavour, it has an entire kingdom’s-wealth of style.
“Better Off Today,” at least the version I’m listening to, denotes ‘(Radio Mix)’ and let me just tell you – this is absolutely a single-ready track. David sings this one perfectly with a Cohen-esque gravel to his voice, but smooth as your favourite whiskey. Great song-writing here, really well-placed parts; it pulses along with a similar energy to what you’d find in some of the music put out by Styrofoam. The production itself is being created at a genius-level; the clarity and separation of sound on this album is audibly immaculate – check out the beautiful song “Even In A Town Of Seven Churches (Odds Are Even).” Complete with fiddle solos, wonderful acoustic guitar, and the evidence of a real storyteller through song – Arn emerges completely victorious here. Nearly like David Gilmour in his vocals and comfortably-numb whispers…this is a real winner occurring very early here in this impressive display of diversity on Walking To Dreamland.
After luring you in to the sweet-sounds of “Real Time,” Arn brings up the tempo on one of his most dynamic and energetic tracks with “When You Lost Your Situation.” You get a real sense of the poetry he’s applying to the music through his lyrics, but ALSO, Arn just up and takes this guitar for a stroll around the studio bringing out some of the best hooks and solo-riffs you’ll hear on this record. The rhythm and groove, the timing & pulse…it’s all working here and coming together just as it should.
Halftime break. David Arn is clearly winning here, 5-0.
“Rosalina’s Music” is another beautiful composition, a great blend of old-meets-new. Reminds me a lot of Sparklehorse here…that band was always able to pull off a great way of bringing what sounded like music from the ‘olden days’ to our modern day without it feeling awkward; David is doing the exact same here. I might not always know what the heck he’s singing about, but I know that I sure love the way he’s coming about it all! Besides…like a true poet, he’s written much of this in a way that will lead you to your own stories and conclusions; and like a true musician, he’s written this all in a heartfelt, passionate effort that resonates within us all. It might just be the picture staring at me, but Arn to me, seems like the underdog…the one we don’t see coming.
And he’s got me rooting for him. I know I won’t be alone in that.
He sings with true style…there’s a great, genuinely authentic tone in his voice. And despite what you might think – it’s not the auto-tuner that’s supplying the sincere emotional qualities you’re hearing – that’s all Arn. Beautiful performance and flow on “Something More Between Us,” the only thing in the way of that being one of the album’s most incredible highlights is the tremendous track to follow. “The Last Word,” is an absolutely incredible song; it sounds incredibly personal this time as Arn brings a slight aggression to the vocals, just a hint of a sharper edge on the lyrics here…whatever the motivation, this is fantastic. Bordering on the sounds of the other excellent ‘Davids’ out there, you can take your pick cause Arn finds his was to a Gray-meets-Baerwald groove here.
Ending on the Beatles-esque experimental synth track “Water Lillies,” was the right move. Not only does this show that David Arn is willing to push his own creative limits to the boundaries and beyond in any direction, but the tones of both the music and vocals are just about as warm and inviting as it gets. Sgt. Pepper would have no problem approving this…and since he’s not here, I’ll be the first to give this the official recommendation; what an excellent song and what a fantastic ending to what has truly been a very unique and extremely rewarding listening experience.
Have a listen and check it out for yourself here at SoundCloud! https://soundcloud.com/davidarn
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