new album!!! The Dangers - dreamtime
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The Dangers: Dreamtime - a review by Julie Bradlow
Ah, mid-August, when many dependable things happen: the Perseids meteor showers, heat and humidity almost everywhere in the lower 48, and a new Dangers album! In this case, Dreamtime, the Dangers’ tenth studio album, issued in the band’s fortieth year, comes out on August 17. Produced by Dangers frontman Chris LeRoy and engineered by Maria Baglien, Dreamtime is deceptively jaunty and poppy, with nods to classic rock influences like The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel and Bob Dylan. Careful attention to the lyrics, however, makes the listener realize that the album is not so much about being in a dreamlike state as about discerning fantasy from reality.
The track most illustrative of this tension is “Fat of the Land,” which opens as follows: “Sitting in an open field/Clouds rolling over the sun/Paper says it’s no big deal/Plenty nuff for everyone.” Then, the tempo increases, the guitar strums more insistently, and the song continues: “But I don’t think I’m dreaming/We’re going down from where I stand/People getting hungry/Gazing on the fat of the land.” Three of the album’s other songs explore dreaming: The title track “Dreamtime,” envisions dreams as a safe place: “Dreamtime, dreamtime/Please close our eyes/City lights of fireflies/Will keep us safe tonight.” The track that precedes it, “Motor,” speaks of dreams in the aspirational sense: “Might have simple plans/Might have simple dreams/Won’t meet your demands/That’s clear enough to see/Out here in the country/We know what we need/Love and conscience, peace and dignity.” The song “Dreaming” portrays dreams as a cause for optimism: “You say you hear the breaking of a thousand hearts/Well I can hear a thousand beating on their mark/Am I dreaming?/Yes I’m dreaming/And that’s a start.”
Another theme of Dreamtime is indecision. Its first track, “Last Train,” first appeared on LeRoy’s Death of Me album Life’s So Hard, Make it Softer. It begins plaintively: “Sitting on a train track trying to decide/Should I lie back for the rest of the ride?/Cash my ticket to the other side/Why?” The Johnny A Hickman/Chris LeRoy anthem “Another Road,” which first appeared on Hickman’s solo record Tilting, also pulses with uncertainty: “Want to get away/I understand it/But I don’t want to say it/And I don’t want to stay/This is a fine way home/Seems like a lifetime/Over and over again.”
The album concludes – almost -- on an reassuring note with “Treasure:” “In your mind/you’re waiting for connection/But you can’t see/no mansion on a hill/Be careful/That you never lose direction/There will always be/A candle on the sill.” Then, up pops the hidden track, “Kevin’s Fries,” an obvious nod to the Beatles squib “Her Majesty,” that closes Abbey Road.
While the Dangers’ lineup has changed over the years, LeRoy, drummer Brad Vaughn (whose fills are, happily, high in the sound mix), guitarist Mike Geoghegan, and keyboardist Ralph Torres have been constants for a while, and are joined this time by bassist Matt Wyckoff. Guest vocalist Ray Zeigler appears on several tracks, as does percussionist Aidan Vaughn. Harmonica player Bill Barrett, guitarist Brad Lewis, and bassist Roy Durnal make “Fat of the Land” and “Treasure,” which also includes a guitar solo from Wyckoff, standout tracks. The download is available now, and CDs are available in a couple of weeks. However you like to listen, don’t sleep on whether to pick up a copy of Dreamtime!
December 1 - Annual Christmas Show at Studio
September 6 - MTL Unplugged
September 2 - Fi-Stock in Redlands
August 31 - 14th Annual Campout at Pappy & Harriets
May 27 - Saturation Festival - The Dangers at MTL
April 4 - The Dangers at MTL