Dream State - A Place to Rest My Head
Release: March 25, 2007
Dream State, an unsigned band out of the ever-growing Arizona rock scene that includes Jimmy Eat World and Lydia, are a band that have found their sound. The only prolbem with this is, they tend to get lost in the same sound over and over again. Their sophomore release, A Place to Rest My Head finds the quintet singing the tales of love in the familiar dreamy piano, atmospheric pop that has made bands like Mae and Lydia popular. With few exceptions, APTRMH is an album that is overrun with generic piano-pop; indeed the cd would have been made a lot better had 3 or 4 of the excess generic songs been edited out of the release.
One of the bands' strengths lie in their singers, Nick Garza and Nikki LaLumandier. They both exhibit very mature voices that sometimes save the ordinary pop songs from drifting into the realm of sub-par and bad piano-pop. LaLumandier, who is feature in five of the tracks, is a very poppy singer; if given the right circumstances, she could front a purely pop band, even an almost American Idol style band. Garza's voice is in the same vein as many of today scene singers, but his voice is clearly more mature. A glaring flaw with their vocal delivery however is that both vocalists try too hard to be vocally diverse, and in their efforts to sound different they sometimes wander off of the key of the song.
The 14 track Res My Head is filled with pop smarts, but a lack of editing out songs that tend to run together and are ultimately forgettable. The title track, "Finish Line," "Gone So Fast," "In Your Eyes," and "My Best Friend," all but one fronted by Garza, ultimately sound the same, and the songs are not all strong enough to warrant them all making the record. The lyrics are simple, from rhyme scheme to subject matter, and this does not do anything to help the variety of the record. The production and musicianship of the cd is good, its just the strengths of the song style gets lost because of the mass of same-sounded tunes.
The four anomalies are "Apology," "Eleven31," "Starting Over," and "Surrender" are rock songs that feature a more understated piano, as well as an acoustic song, "Apology," that brings out the best in Garza's voice. This variety and subdued piano sound are a good things, as the latter of the two aformentioned songs are Dream State's strongest on the album. These songs exhibit variety, and as such they represent evidence that Dream State is capable of creating a spectral cd that wanders around piano-pop, rock, and the like, instead of staying in a proverbial sleep state and settling for generic piano-pop songs. Dream State are capable of much better, they just need to realize that a variety of sound, as well as good editing in song choice, would propel them into the Grey's Anatomy bracket of bands, a genre they would flourish in.