Dave McPherson

Dreamoirs

Written by: TL on 01/09/2013 16:03:20

While they may never have reached the widespread fame of contemporaries like Lostprophets or Funeral For A Friend - Brentwood, Essex group InMe has established itself as a bit of an institution in the British alternative rock scene with five full lengths, a greatest hits record and a pair of live DVD's spread out across their impressive seventeen years as a band. It's probably no surprise then, considering the solidity of their body of work so far, that frontman and main songwriter Dave McPherson would eventually decide to also explore life as a solo artist, pulling a Jonah Matranga (or a Charlie Simpson.. or a Claudio Sanches.. etc. etc.) and working his way up to the release of a solo full length called "The Hardship Diaries" in 2011 - a record he followed up on this summer with a second effort under the name "Dreamoirs".

Now for those that haven't followed InMe since the beginning (admittedly even I haven't), a crash course could explain that their sound was initially cut from similar cloth as that of LP and FFAF, only to take a much more technical and progressive turn starting with 2007's "Daydream Anonymous". The reason this is relevant is that essentially Dave McPherson takes the same continuing fascination with the progressive and simply applies it to a cleaner, semi-acoustic, occasionally folksy setting here on "Dreamoirs", and judging from a quick foray into "The Hardship Diaries", he does so more than previously, which only makes sense considering that many of the older songs may have been in the works since before McPherson started acted upon these influences.

The material on "Dreamoirs" then - all of which was written and played by McPherson himself by the way - is mostly of a light, yet rich, semi-acoustic, and indeed, dreamy, variety, with a subtle rhythm section underscoring a deftly picked acoustic guitar and a more distantly noodling, clean electric. On top McPherson delivers a vocal performance that sounds a bit like someone using Matthew Davies-Kreye's (from FFAF) voice with Matthew Bellamy's (Muse) technique, which on one hand translates to McPherson working various vocal effects and ranges of his voice impressively, yet also to him unfortunately having a relatively limited, if peculiar, tone to begin with.

After a dozen trips through "Dreamoirs", the lingering impression is that it is an album that remains most impressive as a technical accomplishment. Dorks and attentive listeners should rightfully appreciate it for its lush and seamlessly elegant movements, as do I, but even with the dynamicity that is here, a lot of the record floats by without becoming truly engaging. There are excepting in the semi-catchy verses of both the music-box ish "Her Majesty's Prism" and the initially stripped back "Kingdom", while the cheekily titled "I'm Possible" boasts a noteworthy chorus and "Grotesque Is A Beautiful Word" curiously rhymes "Inertia" with "Persia" before sliding into a soulful guitar solo, yet the former of these four is simultaneously a good example of McPherson becoming a bit over-ambitious as he pursues the bridge part so far you've almost forgotten where the song came from by the time it turns back.

Overall the album is a fine production, with skillful playing and expert compositions, yet it inevitably lacks some more directness to contrast the delicately immersive tablatures that McPherson has dreamt up. It's not that I can't understand if a musician as accomplished as him, decides to forego directness in order to pursue new avenues of experimentation, but be that as it may, the songs on here do not manage to consistently lure me back along on McPherson's compositional adventures. That being said, if you're the sort of fan that swears by the notion that musicians should write the music that they want without compomising to keep the fans happy, then "Dreamoirs" should be exactly the right record for you.

7

Download: Her Majesty's Prism, Grotesque is a Beautiful Word, Kingdom, I'm Possible
For The Fans Of: Jonah Matranga, Charlie Simpson, Prize Fighter Inferno
Listen: facebook.com/davemcphersonmusic

Release Date June 2013
Self-released / Graphite Records

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