There’s a new collective in Toronto. TRELLIS is four artists with an affinity for bright art and rich, seductive vocals. Nakai, Khalid, Davrielle and Mayo are all at the launching stages of their musical careers (Mayo promises a mixtape is coming on his site as he keeps up with the literary Lit Collective) but what little they’ve put out promises good things—from Nakai’s mesmerizing soundtrack laid over a clip of Sean Pertwee’s, ‘Journey To The Edge of the Universe’ to Davrielle’s swinging voice on a live band clip.
Khalid marks the first of the four to put out a release through the group, a five-song EP that fizzes and pops, swaying melodically through the sultry heartbreak of titular “Dreamland”.
An abrupt stop punctuates the longing, crackling into the confessional of “Nightmare.” “Ain’t it funny how things change?” he asks, before admitting he’s lost his rose-coloured glasses. But it’s the lines that follow, “What will become of me? / I’m looking at the odds so ugly/ I’m looking at the screen like that could have been me,” that gives Dreamland weight beyond the other soulful confessionals that Toronto’s become known for.
Khalid’s defensive “I’m fine” in a conversational interlude that follows introduces the edge in “Mess,” echoing effects lending steel to Khalid’s rap as he declares “I’m screaming that I don’t fucking care,” before admitting, “But I do, I do, I do…”
Dreamland is both personal and political. Rejection blends the two together as Khalid searches for “the next one” on “Mess,” and muses over his longing in the artistic “Bittersweet.” “That’s the past, you don’t live there,” he sings, lingering over an old lover, but also an acknowledgement that his youthful ideas are, much like “Dreamland (Reprise),” quickly fading away.
Top Track: Mess
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)