Slickly delivered but, much like the other elements in both the song and the lyric video made to support its release, free of common artificialities found too frequently in new pop music nowadays, the beat in Christian Parker’s “Dream Catcher” is best described as folky, not bloated, and a marvelous reason to give this track a listen as soon as possible. Parker steps up to the mic ready to break through just about any barrier that comes between his melodicism and the audience, and while his overall attack is steeped in soul-searching and self-policing in response to a lot of recent liberal pop excess, it doesn’t force him to be anything other than himself here.
Beyond the surface-level cosmetics of the lyric video for “Dream Catcher,” the song itself contains instrumentation with a very retro feel, not to mention a producer-centric stylization that makes it feel like a 70s folk-pop classic more than it does anything overtly futuristic. This isn’t to say that this material isn’t original – far from it – but merely to acknowledge the natural, focused creativity of Parker in this studio offering. He’s not hiding anything from us here, including the influences he holds closest to his own heart.
There’s a pulsating quality to the rhythm of this track that alludes to the feeling of wandering down an unbeaten path, which is part of the reason why I think “Dream Catcher” feels like a searching anthem more than anything else. Its uniquely autumnal characteristics lend a greater warmth to the aesthetics here than I knew I was going to come across, which in turn makes the climax of the song all the more powerful when we’re able to reach it – completely without the burden of a pressurized mix, mind you. Production frills can do a lot, but when you’re working with this kind of heart, they’re simply not all that necessary.
The harmony in this single alludes to a subtle chamber pop influence I would love to hear Christian Parker experiment with a little more than he already has in his career thus far, and from where I’m sitting, it verifies that this player grew up on roots music first and foremost. His swagger levels are absolutely off the charts by the time we hit the middle mark in “Dream Catcher,” but best of all, none of it ever translates into the negative arrogance too often sewn into the bones of cutting ballads (mainstream and indie the same) just like this one.
“Dream Catcher” might not have been conceived with the intention of it serving as the ultimate introduction to its creator’s sound, but for my money, it does a fine job of encapsulating the energy of the artist and scene that bring it to life this November. Christian Parker has more than a rival or two in this genre, both in his scene and abroad, but as long as he remains as cool, calm, and collected in his performances as he did in this latest trip into the recording studio, it’s hard for me to imagine his career doing anything but better in the future.
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