Australian singer/songwriter Robbie Maroon does it all – writes, composes, arranges and produces all his own material and on his debut Dream Factory, Vol. I. Maroon’s style and songwriting is consistent and during some points the songs are lyrically fun while other times deep and moving. With influences from the man himself, Prince, to such other bands as Diesel, Maroon first effort is a great mix of funk, pop, rock and retro sounds making several tunes quite infectious and danceable. Each song has a video that accompanies it on Maroon’s You Tube channel and a Vol. 2 will be released by the middle of this year.
“Funksound” starts the album off with a definite danceable beat reminiscent of the disco and funk days of the ‘70s. This number would get a crowd going and it put a smile on my face for sure. “Dreamer” has more of an ’80s retro feel, like in the style of what some of the English bands were doing back in the day. “Pure Heart” is a great ballad – “find yourself and things will turn out right” – Maroon’s message is straight orward, not muddled and above all positive. “Phenomenon” definitely has that throwback sound to the ‘80s. I liked it because it has the high-class flashiness and keyboard effects that remind me of that time.
On “The Fog” you may get the feeling that it sounds like one of Prince’s more evocative, sexy beat songs, but without the suggestive lyrics – I didn’t get the sense that Maroon is into those kinds of lyrics on Dream Factory. This song also features a strong, catchy chorus and overall I thought the writing was very good. The added vocals were great too. “I Was Wondering” is a light, playful tune about that “falling in love” feeling that we all encounter at some point in our lives. On “ Cause and Effect” Maroon’s voice sounds a little Bowie and that singer from ABC or someone like him – I forget his name. The message coming through lyrically is very relevant for our time.
“Ray of Light” features guitar and church organ/bell sounding keys. This song has a ‘70s gospel and soul feel and a great catchy chorus. “Inner Sense” includes female backing vocals singing beautiful melodies. Maroon sings another heartfelt message and this song would make for an excellent slow dance anytime. The beat on “The Return of Z” has a fun; funky ‘80s futuristic feel with an excellent snare sound (as a drummer, I get a little giddy whenever I love the way drums sound). But I wonder – who is Z? and, what is he/she returning to? Maybe I missed something.
“We Won’t” features sitar and overall it’s a well-put together song. It has a dark funkiest to it with a Prince-like edge. The lyric “we won’t stop / take a chance ‘cause its your life” is an encouraging line at any age. The last tune “When” slows things down with a bluesy, soulful introspective take on life’s bigger questions. This song also seems to be calling out in prayer to a greater force bigger than us. Maroon’s Dream Factory Vol. I tells it’s listeners that life can be fun with tender moments but also complex and real with profound times of insight. Happy listening!
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