Cover: Lyra Howell
Open Dream, the new album from singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Wes McClintock, took two years to make.
McClintock explains, “This is the album I’ve always wanted to create. It evolved out of reworking some very old songs of mine and turned into a two-year odyssey that incorporates everything I love about music. The album was begun in a cramped rental home in Toronto in the midst of COVID and finished in a beautiful house by a hill in the peaceful city of Saint John, New Brunswick. It’s a very personal album and a pretty good reflection of who I am, both artistically and personally.”
Open Dream is a bit of a departure from McClintock’s first album, No Service, in that he leans much more on his electronic production prowess. It’s not unexpected, however, as McClintock has years of multi-genre experience and influence to draw on; experimentation comes with the territory. Self-taught in all his disciplines, McClintock played in many indie bands, including the Juno-nominated Wildness of Manitoba, before going solo.
Constructed as a concept album, Open Dream picks up where No Service left off as a commentary on modern society’s addiction to technology but there’s less irony and more wistfulness in Open Dream.
Comprising a dozen tracks highlights on the album include the opener, “Sky,” which blends hints of dream-pop and jazz into a coruscating, percolating tune dripping with bright energy.
“Imaginary Songs” rolls out on flavors of pop melded with progressive Americana, giving it a quasi-prog-rock feel. The pushing flow of the melody features a rumbling bassline and shimmering electronic surfaces, forming luxurious textures.
Opening on burbling tones, “Falling” blends tints of new wave pop with a slightly funky rhythm as filtered vocals imbue the lyrics with beguiling timbres. A personal favorite because of its cashmere textures of dream-pop and jangle pop, “Waiting In Line” projects low-slung, glowing tendrils of coloration topped by silky vocals.
Vaguely reminiscent of The Alan Parsons Project, the title track glides forth on intertwining layers of gentle, dreamy tones. While “A Different Kind of Sane” merges faint tinctures of disco with a funk-lite bassline and glimmers of new wave essence into a deliciously alluring tune.
Drenched in drifting, floating hues, Open Dream is wonderfully, beautifully wrought, offering lambent washes of dream-like soundscapes.