Collapsing Opposites - Dreamland

12 songs
32:33 minutes
***** ***
Ur Audio-Visual


Ryan McCormick has been releasing albums under the name Collapsing Opposites since 2002. It all started out as a solo project, then turned into a band, and currently is back to solo status again with the seventh longplayer Dreamland, released on the quite new record label Ur Audio-Visual which specialises on ultra-limited cassette tape releases next to their digital catalogue.

You might be forgiven if you have never heard of Collapsing Opposites before, as the artist must have kept a rather low profile outside his native British Columbia in Canada, but there is no excuse not to check out his outstanding songwriting that turned out completely different from what I expected. That’s probably when idiosyncrasy comes into play. One guy recording an album by himself, that’s where you usually get introspective singer/songwriter ballads. Not so with Ryan McCormick who was in charge of the vocals and many instruments (guitar, bass, saxophone, keyboards and drums), but had also a lot of people helping out on different instruments in the studio. All of this makes for a surprisingly rich sound, and while not every song is a future classic, Dreamland still starts with three examples of how to perform to perfect lo-fi indie rock song. The opener Castles is an upbeat indie pop track which takes most of its charm from McCormick’s nasal vocal performance. This, combined with the general melodic orientation of the music, puts him somewhere between Jad Fair and They Might Be Giants. The following Time To Sleep is a heart wrenching ballad that juxtaposes the life of his ageing father with that of his new born child. Comes with a saxophone part you won’t forget so easily. Seven Secret Dreams is a moody track with a fun theremin part that gives it a very peculiar atmosphere. You’ll encounter many other fun tracks, like the moving ballad Here Gone Gone Here, the acerbic Those Same Conservatives which shows off the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie, the proto-punkish Multitasking (I guess a lot of people can relate to those lyrics) and the free jazzy Build It Up, Tear It Down.

Curiosity got the better of me, so I checked out also Collapsing Opposites’ previous album Revolution Is Now, which was a band effort and actually comes with a little more punch than Dreamland, but then the new album is of a more personal nature, and as such is a really deep insight into the inner workings of Ryan McCormick, combined with richly arranged mature songwriting. Be sure to check this out but do not expect a hi-fi production and faultless instrumentation. Instead you get a honest piece of handmade music with a very definite amateurish charm which is more enjoyable than the majority of sterile major label recordings.

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