Pop vocalists so rarely give themselves over to the music, let alone surrender any of the spotlight to the backdrop their band constructs for them, but neither can be said of Dr. Rob Alexander this January. Alexander’s new LP, Dream Out Loud, is comprised of material like “A Song to Get Us Through,” “Game Over” and “Olivia,” each of which are expressive in a way that starts with taking a backseat to the other elements in the music aside from his own vocal, and rather than feeling like a defeat, they rep a triumph I had to hear in order to believe.
“Hot Potato” and the title track might have been arranged with a little extra oomph on the backend, but this doesn’t make their hooks any less efficient than the ones we can discover in “La Flambeau,” “Look out Below” and “Love Will Find You.” Contrarily, it’s clear that Alexander wants to get us moving at every tempo and extent of tonal forcefulness granted by his vocal – it’s only when we appreciate his understated use of grandiosity that we can fully know the amount of skill, talent and just raw connection to the music was really required to make Dream Out Loud happen.
The vocals feel so insular in “Instant Sex,” “Yesterday’s News” and “Angel and Johnny” but this was important to establish some conciseness with regards to the overall production theme in the record. The last thing that Rob Alexander wants to be known for is lacking continuity in his projects, and this continues to be true of his latest work; frankly, Dream Out Loud shows him being more serious about creating a solid, non-splintered collection of material than I would have originally thought him capable of being (at least in his own career as a singer/songwriter).
There isn’t a lot of surrealism within neither the ballads nor the faster tracks in Dream Out Loud, as I had expected after hearing Alexander’s last two albums, but I like what his directed focus suggests about the deeper story being told with the aesthetics here. He has the opportunity to take the familiar path on more than one occasion amidst his performances in the likes of “Kings and Queens” and “A Song to Get Us Through;” he’s too disciplined to repeat what he’s already done in the past though, and this alone affords us an added excitement to what was already going to be a pretty good record at the end of the day.
Are you looking for killer beats paired up with unstoppably potent vocal harmonies – both of which haven’t been sourced from a synthetic software popular among amateur players? Is so, it’s reasonable to say that Rob Alexander’s Dream Out Loud is all you need to get by this season. Alexander doesn’t have much left to prove to this critic after crushing it on the beat front in this album, but regardless of what he does next, my gut says it’s going to be even better than this is; in keeping with tradition, of course.
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