Alice Boman’s Dream On is a luscious example of how powerful music can be, Music Editor Dylan Lucas reviews
Alice Boman caused somewhat of a stir at the tail end of 2019 when lead single ‘Wish We Had More Time’ dropped. Fans have waited patiently for a full-length release since her 2014 release EPII, and other than a number of drip-fed singles in the years since, hope of a more fleshed out project has seemed bleak. Yet, six years later, here we are and full-length debut album Dream On is absolutely worth the long wait.
The record opens with the aforementioned ‘Wish We Had More Time’ and instantly the tone of Dream On is made apparent. This track is gentle in its piano led rhythm yet features an overbearingly sombre synth which reinforces the lyrical weight of the track. Like icing on a synth boosted cake, Boman delivers a blissful vocal melody which helps give ‘Wish We Had More Time’ a more ethereal feel. This theme continues for the remainder of Dream On; ‘Heart on Fire’ is a reflective breeze, which pulls you in with its comforting melodies alongside Boman’s delivery of lines such as ‘It’s all over your face/ I can see, I can feel it/ But I need to hear it’. The contradiction present throughout Dream On’s stunning performances presents a wonderful antithesis between glistening instrumentals and heart wrenching lyricism.
The album’s highlight is easily ‘It’s Ok, It’s Alright’, a wonderful ballad centred around a slow duel between harp and synth, meanwhile Boman croons with an angelic quality, highly reminiscent of The Dreaming era Kate Bush. This song is also home to what is likely the album’s catchiest chorus, although punchy lines and sing-a-long choruses aren’t really to be found here. Dream On is far more concerned with memorability through emotional impact – a factor which it delivers in spades.
Instrumentally, Dream On is as finely tuned as the pianos dancing over it. The piano and synthesiser seemingly take centre stage, second only to Boman’s vocal performance. This is perhaps best represented on ‘This Is Where It Ends’, a song which repeatedly outdoes itself. The listener is initially caught by the groove of the bassline, before a synth drenched beat switch elevates the song to highlight status and just when the track seemingly plateaus, a choir vocal in the final thirty seconds displays Boman’s ability to match the quality of her own instrumentation with her moving vocal ability.
Glimmering is perhaps the only term which can accurately describe the feeling of Dream On. It is an experience of a record, where the listener is unlikely to pick a favourite track or add anything to a playlist. Each song simply blends together too beautifully to be counted among anything but its own, and while there is variation, such as the more upbeat ‘Don’t Forget About Me’, there is still an undeniable vibe to Boman’s work which feels as though it should be played from beginning to end.