Devon Welsh’s first solo record arrives feeling fully lived in.
You can get drunk on dreams. They’re highly inebriating, disorientating, and can leave you susceptible to disappointments. They are also mystifying catalysts that can bolster your confidence, expand your imagination, and inspire creativity. I’m projecting here, but I imagine that Devon Welsh, once of Montreal’s defunct duo Majical Cloudz who now performs and records solo, indulged on a hefty portion of his subconscious while working on the music that makes up Dream Songs. The record’s ten songs arrive feeling lived in, recurring images flashed across one’s memory. Capsules captured in time.
Welsh’s toolkit is spartan, but highly effective in translating his muses to sound. Each of Dream Songs’s ten compositions is backed by guitar, piano, or strings and all prominently feature Welsh’s majestic, distinctive voice. On “Summer’s End”, like many of the other tracks, Welsh does most of the heavy lifting, carrying the melody through his phrasing and sustained notes. Lyrics repeat and circle back upon themselves, much like tendrils of dreams replay themselves over and over again (“Dreams Have Pushed You Around”).
Dreams Songs is austere, elegiac in its simplicity and style, revealing insights and new ideas with each repeated listen. These are beautiful, sad songs; songs under the influence of hope and hurt. Every sip from Welsh’s songbook goes down smoother than the last, drawing you in with his emotive power and the sheer audacity of control he has over his voice.