Once again, I have found an album with a very fitting title. This is Dreamhouse by Halifax-born Steve Poltz. I had honestly never of Poltz before listening to this, and after listening to the record a few times I realized that I had missed out on a truly talented musician.
According to the press release for this album, Poltz apparently plays more than 220 shows a year, which is a hell of a lot. It’s the kind of work ethic that reminds me of when Dan Mangan was touring relentlessly in promotion of his spectacular sophomore album.
As if this work ethic wasn’t enough to make Poltz’s new album attractive, it was also produced by Joel Plaskett, who needs no introduction. Not only did Plaskett produce the album, but he also played a lot of instruments on it. In addition to Plaskett, other talented musicians also appear on the record including Jenn Grant and David Myles.
From Poltz’s music you can really get the sense of the troubadour in him, Many of his songs mention places far off, such as Kosovo, Bosnia and Mexico. He sings about these places with such beauty that you can almost feel yourself right there.
Listening to Dreamhouse in its entirety is like falling asleep and having a really picturesque dream. This feeling is especially evident in one of the album’s best tracks, “License Plate Eyes.” In it there is a dreamy guitar, and begins with “If it’s a dream/It’s not what it seems/Depends on your point of view/It’s always the same/You can be floating on a puffy white cloud/With daisies blowing below you lost in the wind.” Normally I don’t quote songs at length but I thought this example was particularly poignant.
The album can almost be divided into two- the first five songs are more positive and upbeat songs, while the other six are slightly more melodic and almost mournful. Whether it is the instrumental storytelling of “A Song For Kosovo” or the sad imagery of “A Dog in Bosnia” the album packs a more emotional impact as it draws to a close.
Poltz’s vocal style also makes his songs more inviting to listen to. In a few of his songs, like “Digging For Icicles” he sings almost as though the song is a nursery rhyme. That song’s drums will also have you gently swaying from side to side.
This album is really a bit of a hidden gem. You won’t necessarily see a lot of reviews for this album, but trust me, it is worth a few listens.
Top Tracks: “Digging For Icicles”; “License Plate Eyes”; “A Dog in Bosnia”
3.5 Hoots (out of 4) +*swoop*