Eclipsing – Dream Boat: Floating to the other side. (Music Review)

Psych-rock (pop) is not my thing, but I’m making an exception in the case of Eclipsing, the new album out by Dreamboat duo Daniel Donahue and Paige Campbell.  Despite the depth and headiness of this album, a folk infused minimalism weaves in and out of its reach. At times it almost reminded me of Clannad – only less Irish. (If that makes sense) This music creates connection with the listener in a warm and emotional way. The songs are about loneliness and love but a harmonised invitation lies within, a sort of promise or hope of something “beyond.” I guess that is the basis for all this sort of music, but I confess I don’t usually experience the reaction of inclusiveness that I feel in the hands of these two musicians.

The story goes, the artists write together in order to overcome the torment of being apart. They were born on the same day (Aquarians) and see their connection as transcendental.  Perhaps this is at the heart of the connectivity to the listener?  Perhaps in reaching across the miles for each other, there is an outstretched arm that reaches the listener? The hypnosis within the pretty music is a hazy protective sort of nurturing sound that cocoons and engulfs.  These two are not new to the psych scene. Before Dream Boat, Campbell was half with Dark Meat and half with Hope for Agoldensummer.  Donohugh gave his lyrics to Montreal and Elf Power.

Influences are a little lost on me, because I am out of familiar territory here. Campbell’s voice is a gentle sweetness, casual in delivery, but firm of grasp. It’s her voice that adds the intense dreamscape feel of the songs, the psych arrangements being more about traditions and folk. Her voice sits comfortably next to Donahue’s subtle gentleness when he nudges in occasionally for background support.  The sound is large, and thick despite its lightness. It’s special and also closed in with that strange air of connection that it carries.

There is something rather special about the narrative, and its depth of longing that adds to the feeling of connection for the listener as well. The songs are complex in their narrative style, and I found myself floating more and more toward the lyrics the more I listened. That’s unusual for me; I often have to make a deliberate attempt to hear vocals, despite being a writer. The lyric writing here is very much a part of the music, as if the words were another instrument, separate from the voice. Although I am unfamiliar with Psych generally, I can see a genre cross here into folk territory that works well and is probably what attracted me to the album in the first place. It’s not so much the originates of the sound for me, as where these two are determinedly pushing their sound. It’s the experimentation that gets me so involved in the end.

Eclipsing is out December 4 through Cloud Recordings