Dream State – Primrose Path (Album Review)
Dream State – Primrose Path
Released: October 18th, 2019
CJ Gilpin // Vocals
Aled Evans // Guitar
Rhys Wilcox // Guitar/Vocals
Jamie Lee // Drums
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When I first stumbled across Dream State at UNIFY earlier this year, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. There’s been a heap of bands out of the U.K recently who are absolutely smashing it, As It Is, Neck Deep and Don Broco to name a few so I definitely had high expectations. Fortunately, the Welsh four piece completely blew me away and I walked away incredibly impressed. Now, 9 months later and their debut album Primrose Path is due to be released in less than a week and I’m incredibly excited to hear it!
The album kicks off with ‘Made Up To Smile’ and it’s super atmospheric to start before CJ Gilpin comes in with her vocals and it gets heavier. CJ’s voice has an almost angelic quality to it throughout except for the line ‘Welcome To The Circus’ where it takes on a more eerie and creepy vibe. I found myself super drawn to Jamie Lee’s drumming throughout and right from the get go it’s clear the man is extremely talented on his instrument. It’s a fantastic opener and promises that the rest of the album is going to be great. ‘Are You Ready To Live’ is next and it starts off heavier and with an entirely different vibe than ‘Made Up To Smile’. CJ’s vocals take on a grittier edge and there’s some impressively unclean vocals as well. When you don’t have a bass player in your band it may be difficult to write guitar parts without needing to battle it out, but it’s actually quite beautiful how well Evans and Wilcox harmonise together with the lead and rhythm guitar parts throughout the track.
Track three is ‘Hand In Hand’ and the vibe changes again, especially for the first part of the track. It’s also my favourite track on the record so far, and the vocal harmonies between CJ and Wilcox are perfect and contrast really nicely. The track overall is heavy and harmonic and the breakdowns are like getting kicked in the gut in the best way (if there is such a thing!) and I like the way that it just sort of, ends. ‘Open Windows’ is by far the heaviest track so far and it was surprising when it kicked in, but the further along it got the more I liked it. CJ has this talent where she can make you feel a different emotion with every line that she sings, especially on this track. The emotion that I felt the most was anguish and pain and she just makes it so incredibly believable that you can’t help but be sucked into her emotions.
‘Twenty Letters’ marks the halfway point on Primrose Path and lyrically it reads like a song about a past lover and loss. ‘No they’re never gonna break me down, I’m done’ and ‘They’re never gonna break me, they’re never gonna put me down’ further enforce that vibe. The only ‘bad’ thing about the track is that it’s over way too quickly, but I’d have absolutely no problem listening to it on repeat. Especially if I was in a mood to really feel something. Next up is ‘Spitting Lies’ and musically it’s a really fun track and I was definitely rocking out in my chair while I was listening to it. There’s some really cool spoken vocals throughout the track as well and CJ hits you right in the feels with the tone of her voice and the amount of emotion she puts into the words. ‘Out Of The Blue’ is next and it’s heavy and perfect and just, ugh, yes. It’s going to be my new go to if I’m ever having a bad day and feeling really angry. It’s anger in song form and I love the aggression in CJ’s voice that’s backed up by the aggressive but slick playing by Rhys, Jamie and Aled.
‘Chapters’ is track eight and it opens with Rhys’ vocals, and he takes the helm on the track. It brings an entirely different feel to the song having Rhys doing the singing, but there’s still the raw emotion in his vocals that CJ has in hers. ‘Chapters’ is the most ‘ballad’ type song on the album and it gives the whole thing a really nice rounded feel to it. Second to last is ‘Primrose’ which was also the leading single for the record that Dream State released way back in July. I’d actually forgotten how much I loved it when I heard it the first time and I was more than happy to lose myself in it again when I heard it. As a live band, Dream State bring a lot of energy to their performances and I can definitely see this going off! Lastly, and sadly, we have ‘I Feel It Too’. There is so much I could say about this track but I really don’t want to spoil anything. You need to listen to this and you need to listen to it loud! I’ll just say be prepared to feel. It’s a perfect end to a fantastic album!
There’s a lot of pressure on a band when they’re releasing their debut album because they know that everyone is going to be scrutinising and picking it apart. Dream State have done an absolutely stellar job with their debut however and Primrose Path is quickly climbing its way to the top of my album of the year list. A fantastic release that has definitely earned its 10/10 rating from this very happy reviewer!
Dream State – Primrose Path tracklisting:
1. Made Up Smile
2. Are You Ready To Live
3. Hand In Hand
4. Open Windows
5. Twenty Letters
6. Spitting Lies
7. Out Of The Blue
10. I Feel It Too
Primrose Path is out Friday, October 18th via UNFD. Pre-Order here.
Review by Kelsey Trevan. @kelsey_139
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