Fernando Perdomo returns in progressive-rock meets pop-rock style with Dreaming In Stereo’s second album, aptly titled Dreaming In Stereo 2. All of the tracks on this sophomore effort make allusions to other popular rock bands of the last 50 years. While listening to this band, I am reminded of Karl Wallinger and his project band World Party. Perdomo and Wallinger are both the types to prolifically create their own music, and each have the talent and proficiency to play all the instruments on the recording if need or desire be. And that was the case for Perdomo on the first Dreaming In Stereo full-length, though this release marks partial collaboration with several other musicians. The overall sense I get is that Perdomo’s music is, at least in part, like World Party meets Doves. And the Doves likeness has to do with the spacey guitar and vocal tones, while the World Party similarity has to do with the mixing of 1960s classic rock sensibilities — lyrics and melodies — with 1990s sound production.
The first tune, “Fill My Sky,” starts off with a guitar line that sounds like an updated Neil Young song, but then quickly takes on a noticeably more progressive rock feel. There is even a psychedelic presence, perhaps prompted by lyrics like “Can you be the clouds? Can you be the stars?” which embrace the listener with an optimism reminiscent of the 1960s peace and love sentiment. As previously inferred, the 1960s rock and roll feel actually permeates the entire album. As further evidence, track two, “The Traveler,” has a sway to it and a spacey harmony that definitely causes it to spin in the listener’s ears. The third song lyrically treats the existential conundrum of reality being almost entirely derived from each person’s individual mind: “Hey, everything is fine/ It’s all inside my head/ Let’s put everything aside/ Forget the things I said” — but then the theme quickly shifts to romance with the words, “I feel like nothing has been lost/ Love is precious/ It don’t have a cost.” Wrap that up in a simple chorus “Enough’s Enough” and also make it the title of the song, and bam! you have an easily accessible yet earnest product.
The topic of dreams and sleep also thread themselves through several of the songs, and that is no wonder, acknowledging this band’s name and also the album names. The fourth and fifth tracks are segued commentary about dreams, descriptively titled “Lullaby” and “Gonna Sleep Until Tomorrow.” And it is the latter which calls an Oasis vibe to my mind of the Be Here Now variety.
Additionally, I hear a hint of later-in-their-career Stone Temple Pilots combined respectively with a Rush Of Blood To The Head-style Coldplay sound in the ninth song, “Standing Still (While The World Goes Round).” There is more Oasis but also a touch of The Who and Kula Shaker, for track ten, “Part Of Your Life.” And if it weren’t for a track like “Part Of Your Life,” then the penultimate track, entitled “Music All around Me (Dudley Moore’s Last Words),” would sound over-the-top cheesy. But, the sense I get from Pedromo’s lyrics is that he means them all in complete but gentle seriousness. He truly wants to be part of his subject’s life, whoever she or he is. Thus, it is okay for him to communicate this message succinctly and directly, in a very Beatles “Got To Get You Into My Life” way, and then repeat it for effect and emphasis in an Oasis way a la “Let There Be Love.” Pedromo honestly and unpretentiously finds it necessary to acknowledge that music is all around us. And, to be fair, he is right.”
But my favorite lyrics during the entire album happen in the last song, the slippery track number thirteen, “Summer Is Gone.” The introductory words are blunt: “I’ll never understand the way that she lives, the way that she is, the way that she loves,” Yet, they are placed amidst a beautiful electronic symphony which has an uplifting progression. This contrast of dark and light between lyrical content and melody ultimately ends up being a union of light and light because his conclusion is that it is okay that he does not understand her. And that is partially because she’ll never understand what she was to him. Summer is gone, but summer was sweet, and just as the love was reciprocal, so was the confusion.
Even though there are several moments of sonic head-nods to various, famous performers and even though this album could be construed by a cynic as being a little lyrically cliché or trite, there is a subconscious, genuine songwriting that rings through. And, it is more appreciable the more one listens. This album is not perfect or trailblazing, or is it intending to be; but it is real.