ALBUM REVIEW: The Emerald Dream by Asleep At The Reel (Band based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, released Dec 2018)
I rolled the dice on this CD because I know the drummer Suzanne Hibbs, she is such a sweetie. No hard sell from Suzanne, it was totally my idea to buy the CD.
By default rock music is my preferred style, but I enjoy many others too, but up until now Celtic was something I knew nothing about.
I popped this CD on thinking; at worst it could make a half decent, albeit expensive drink coaster. But I totally got into this album right from the first listen. For early tracks I was taken with the open honest recording and the gentle but definitive, live like delivery and instrumentation that was new to me. (I have since been informed much of the album was recorded live, nice!) Then noticed the great lyrics and began following the lyrics in the liner notes. I have since played again following all the lyrics which are thoughtful, smart and playful.
Because great sound is very important to me, I’ve assembled a very good sound system. So if an album is not engineered well, it will reveal those short comings which may not be noticeable on typical gear. I did not hear any heavy handed dynamic range compression, so thumbs up to Michael Fix. The recording style is honest, open and sonically very pleasing. I imagine this is much like what you would hear, seeing this group perform live.
Engaging lyrics coloured with a unique blend of Irish Australiana. For example track 10, The Whiskey, no it’s not about one of my fav drinks, it’s about the infamous torching of Brisbane’s Whiskey A Go Go night club in the early 70’s or the title track The Emerald Dream which is about the sad closing of the Brisbane Irish Club in 2015.
The more weighty themed songs are pertinent without being preachy, nicely balanced with some lighter fun themes as well. The Red Dress story is sweet fun with lyrics like “So I packed up thinkin’ I was gonna have a fine time, a lucky little strummer and looked up as she was wrapped around that drummer boy”. Love the twist because it is usually the guitarist that pulls the ladies while the drummer misses out.
Musicianship is superb with Mark and Mick mixing up the lead vocals which adds that silver lined cloud to the Dream.
This is AATR’s debut and it is a cracker, everyone that contributed should be extremely proud.