Dan Smyth – ‘Eye Dream’

Eye Dream is an enthralling album from Fort Wayne-based artist Dan Smyth. A varied art-rock sound takes hold throughout, incorporating nocturnal synth developments and psych-pop delights alike. From the heady opening dreaminess of “Night Heron” to the brass-touched psych-pop of the finale “Light,” Eye Dream presents a striking production full of atmosphere and memorable melodic traversals.

“Night Heron” opens the album with an entrancing atmospheric sound. A grooving bass pulse and late-night synths assemble with hypnotic immersion. The nocturnal rhythm section remains a constant, while flourishing leads vary from concise stabs to quivering elongations, evident past the three-minute turn. Eye Dream kicks into gear with this ravishing soundscape, and “When It’s Real” follows with a swifter intrigue. Trickling guitar effects and deepening vocal murmurs converge, remarking “when it’s real you can hear it,” as they emerge with greater clarity. “It must be real,” they sing hauntingly, affirming Smyth’s seamless vocal integrations as well.

A more dance-friendly pulse emanates on “The One,” where crackling synths, a house-forward percussive beat, and suave vocals intertwine. “So I’m stepping out to wander, so I can see everything as it truly is,” the vocals declare, as stutter-y synth minimalism progresses to a faint synth pad ghostliness in the second half; twinkling keys incorporate beautifully in the second half, fondly reminiscent of Junior Boys and Caribou’s modes of production. The aptly titled “Outer Space” appears next, evolving from quaint beginnings into a bursting bounciness with grimy electric guitar distortion and frolicking synths; the ’80s synth-pop nostalgia is palpable, emitting shades of Yellow Magic Orchestra.

The album’s title track is a captivating centerpiece, sitting perfectly in the album’s middle and building with climactic fervor. Melancholic, sporadic piano and rhythmic rumblings traverse into glimmering synth accompaniments. “I tripped up the staircase,” the vocals lament. “And then I fell into my bed.” Chilly keys and warming synth buzzes craft a weightless-sounding atmospheric pull, melding the icy soundscapes of Air with a stark vocal composure in the vein of David Sylvian. The title track’s second part continues the enchantment, intoxicating with heady rhythmic developments, and exuding a jungle-at-night mystique.

“Good morning, welcome back,” the vocals enamor amidst patient bass unfolding and futuristic synths on “After the Crash.” “The longer we wait, the darker the night.” A string-laden majesty takes hold upon the section’s second go-around, with an eerie contemplative quality persisting throughout. “Morning, Midnight” is another highlight, absorbing in its build to chipper electric guitar infusions and “we’re gonna rip the page, and greet the day,” lyrical aspirations. A laid-back, confident aspiration lingers here, and into the satiating finale “Light.” There, bird-chirping and light woodwinds drive into psych-friendly guitar glows and brassy spurts, closing Eye Dream with a gorgeous, psychedelic pop unfolding — traversing from nighttime-set engrossment into this sunshine-friendly dose of brightness.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

Send your music to [email protected].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.