Shut Up I'm Dreaming by Damien Darr is lush album the mixes electronic, hip-hop and rock. There are certainly some very engaging things happening all over this album. Not all of it works but Darr certainly has a unique style that made me take notice.
The album starts with “Intro” which actually didn’t feel like much of an intro and instead seemed like a fleshed out song. I enjoyed the way the song unraveled. It initially starts out with manipulated vocal harmonies that utilize the familiar auto tune effect. It works and when the piano and drums kick in along the sample, things start to look very promising. The energy picks up with funky guitar riffs and the song feels smooth and warm. I felt like the build was anti-climatic and perhaps that is why he called this an intro.
“California Dreamin'” certainly sounds dreamlike as the synth as replicating the sound of delta waves. Darr doesn’t straight up rap but he certainly has the California beach thing going on. “Locked Up” is a deep cut and while not on the same level as an artist like Frank Ocean has a similar vibe. The song gets better and more intense as it progresses. A good song for the club.
“Trust Your Instincts” is a stronger song on the album, which features a darker more stoic vocal delivery that works. He constantly switches vocal styles on “Turn Me Around.” It works and is on point with his percussion. “Boulevard Issues” is a fun song, which is slightly cheesy but works while the closer “Alone Again” is a seven-plus-minute epic that is one of the highlights on the album.
Better recording quality and production is something Darr should strive for on his future releases. There is music that works with lo-fi aesthetics but this isn’t one of them. Darr does have a little niche he has created for himself but it still feels like it needs some tweaking here and there. Overall, most of these songs are perfectly enjoyable with minor mishaps here and there.
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