Album Review Part 2


Dreamland Magic Spells Review Part 2

A strong sense of forward movement and rebirth also exist on Dreamland's sole guitar-driven track. On "Perfume Pretty" (a song that wouldn't feel out of place on one of Beck's best records), Litvin sings, "I like to ride my bike/I love to steal." Which is an ingenious non sequitur amid a beautiful chorus, bringing to mind teenagers and their bicycles crossing double-yellow lines on dead-leave-lined streets underneath a setting, autumn sun. Here, Litvin again sings of transformation ("I'm old enough because I've been born twice"), and despite the sensually pleasing title and cacophony of strings that ends "Perfume Pretty," there's a sense of danger and darkness lurking, with a "suburban genie" serving as the means by which the thieving, biking youth will make their wishes to exit their suburban prison.

As to where they're going, it is certainly not into the light. On "Dark Side," Litvin presents perhaps his clearest vision of where these songs are taking us. He sings, "Graveyards are friendly/And closets aren't empty/They hold the key/To the fun adventures/That your parents want you to ignore." In other words, monsters, witches, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, and other creatures of the night aren't out to get us; rather, they're our friends, guides, and companions as we take a turn into the darkness, going deeper into ourselves. The "Dark Side," both the song itself and Litvin's vision of our dark sides, is a thrilling and haunted ride leading to welcoming (not scary) parts unknown. On the song's chorus, Litvin channels the repetitive rhythms and spoken-word lyrics of German electronic phenomena Kraftwerk, creating a hypnotic state that captures listeners' imaginations, if not their souls. But the song is not an invitation to a nightmare; it's meant to awaken. Litvin sings, "My mother told me/That demons were only/The scariest part of an average day/And I never went to sleep again."

Dreamland's climax is perhaps reached with the heavy bass dance track "Gunz Up!" on which Litvin sings, "Say goodbye to mom/Say goodbye to dad/Say goodbye to everything you ever had." What follows is every teenager's dream, and every parent's nightmare. Which is to say an unclean break from the stifling conformity of living under asphalt-shingled roofs and the care of those who supposedly have our best interests in mind. This break leads into an ecstatic night invoking the original All Hallows' Eve. Dreamland's freakiest track, "Gunz Up!" brings to mind Rob Zombie's work both as a musician and a filmmaker; the song feels like Halloween and Christmas rolled into one. And as "Gunz Up!" fades out, Litvin sings, like a repetitive prayer, "I feel alive again/I feel alive." Which could be the mantra of Litvin the musician at work in the studio, or of the child within the artist, crawling out of the metaphorical womb.
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