Album Review: “Eclipsing“ by Dream Boat

The band’s debut LP “Eclipsing” is composed of dreamy music bathed in equal parts candy and noir.

Shannon Ryan

“Eclipsing”

 

Artist: Dream Boat

 

Release Date: Dec. 4

 

Record Label: Cloud Recordings

 

“Eclipsing” should be played in the darkness of a minimalist environment, whiskey bottle in hand and a mind in flux.

The band — visual artist Dan Donahue and singer Page Campbell — released its first full-length psych-folk LP, “Eclipsing,” on Tuesday. Easy terms like “soothing,” “intriguing” and “mysterious” apply, but they don’t do this album justice in wholly representing its sensual and complex delivery of sounds.

“Eclipsing” is a titular allusion to the record’s masking of everything in a fog of musical ephemera. The album is a carefully constructed project; however, the vocals and instrumentals aren’t cohesive, which isn’t necessarily to the band’s disadvantage. Rather, it creates an unconventionally appeasing intrigue that delivers a sexy and drugged feeling that’s instantly addictive.

The two musicians are not new to the psych scene. Before Dream Boat set sail, Donahue gave his lyrics to Georgia-born bands Of Montreal and Elf Power, while Campbell offered her vocals half to the psychedelic carnival band Dark Meat and half to the sibling-soul fusion of Hope for Agoldensummer.

The Athens, Ga.-based couple weave a folk-infused set of tracks featuring a heady cast of guest musicians to accompany the duo’s bleeding compositions: Scott Spillane (Neutral Milk Hotel), John Fernandes (The Olivia Tremor Control) and Andrew Rieger (Elf Power) are noteworthy contributors to the album.

Campbell’s waifish voice opens the album, encouraging visions of an empyrean universe. “Picture a new star shining / picture it for the first time / picture its brightness / blinding, blinding.”

Featuring almost nothing but a single, repeated keyboard chord, “Pictures” forces the listener to rely heavily on Campbell’s tempting vocals for guidance. The track’s lyrics reek of macabre sweetness in all their simplicity and set the tone for what listeners should expect from the rest of the album — trippy tracks sending you into a vision of the sea without end.

“Sea to Sky” begins with psych-pop delivery only to shift after the first minute, launching the folk framework of the rest of the album. Title track “Eclipsing” contrasts its predecessor, beginning with a troubadour guitar twang and shifting to a dreamlike synthetic sound.

While the more melancholic love track “Broke Open” serves its purpose, undoubtedly, the duo thrives when focused less on the harsh reality of the rogue of romance and more on their mix of vocals and instruments. When combined, the pairing claims the listener as its dependent for the entire track.

Tracks “Done,” “Be Beautiful” and “Fever of My Dream” place a greater emphasis on the cohesion of instruments instead of the beguiling vocals heard in others. In these tracks, the pluck of Donahue’s guitar strikes more effectively than the delivery of Campbell’s words.

The album concludes with “Let Go,” a seven minute amalgamation of washed-out vocals tracking against seductively wise instrumentals that permeate the earlier tracks.

At first listen, the 11-track record may leave you cognitively exhausted in a sweat, deciphering if the group was an indie-psych band or a dustbowl folk duo; but on the second play, its motives are more clear: The opacity of the album reveals no substantive answers, only the promise of the next song.

 

Rating: 8/10