sirWas' Holding On To A Dream, in its titling and its first few moments, threatens forty minutes of mawkish cheese. The album, out of the gate, has an easy affability, with unchallenging compositions. But it's not long before that surface slips.
A wave of melancholy recontextualises the album's title. ‘Holding On To A Dream’ isn't a faux-inspirational Instragram truism. It's the sigh of someone at the end of their tether, ready to leave the dream outside, shake themselves dry of it, and move on.
The album's arrival at the end of summer enriches its doleful beauty. The beach barbecue is over. This is for the last dying embers under the grill, lonely beacons in the sunset. Holding On To A Dream is uncommonly self-aware. The album's suggestion it will soon fade, crumble, and be erased by time is, ironically, the very thing that keeps it stuck in your head.
It shares DNA and gloom-driven grooviness with Frank Ocean's blond. Stand-out track 'Somewhere' features some distorted vocals reminiscent of blond's 'Self Control', in a liminal space between voice and guitar; between two sets of strings running down two necks, the organic and the artificial. 'Somewhere' has a refreshing sense of progression and hope that many of the static jams of Holding On To A Dream lack.
Holding On To A Dream is a work both personable and personal. Its lyrics are confessions, and like many confessions they are obscured behind qualifiers, distractions, bids for approval and friendliness. But that doesn't make them any less compelling. It just makes them easier to hear.
Holding On To A Dream will be released on September 20th. Pre-order and stream tracks here.
Words by Andrew O’Keefe