CD review: IN THE WAKE
By: Dan Brisebois
Dream Aria's IN THE WAKE serves up an eclectic combination of refreshing rockers in this Ontario quartet's debut release. Sampled rhythms serve as the backdrop to sometimes-haunting vocals and intricate melodies, in something that's likely nothing like anything you've heard recently. They openly state they're out to break down the barriers and redefine boundaries. They'll open your eyes and show you a fresh, bright alternative in modern music.
The band's progressive tones began with Donald Stagg collaberating with Garry Flint on some raw tracks he was looking to put some drums to. Along with Jozef Pilasanovic on guitar, bass and flute and Ann Burstyn on vocals, providing a range that varies from borderline brooding to sometimes nearly angelic.
From the "jungle bongos" that merge into the mystic rhythms in the lead-off "Spirit", IN THE WAKE is composed of 13 gems that were nurtured in the studio with Flint serving as official producer.
"Blue Lady" and "Pacis" are two prime examples of the eclectic electronic feel to IN THE WAKE. The title track is a two-part journey where flutes and East Indian influences are woven seemlessly into a progressive melody, and is every bit a standout and showcase a superbly crafted album, with great attention to detail.
"Raindrops" showcases the guitarwork more, as do "Spanish Nights," which also contains some of the haunting vocal prowess of Burstyn, and "11th Hour", one of the more straight forward rockers on the disc.
"Snapshot" is one of the many highlights of IN THE WAKE. Provocative lyrics from the heart and soulful piano arrangement make it one of the more genre-transient numbers, as are "Promise" and "Opus Dei". They highlight the band's ability to break stigmas, and are evidence that Dream Aria is worthy of the airwaves right across the country. Their ability to avoid being labelled makes them appeal to a wider audience, and is their best attribute, something for everyone.