Review: Dream Your Life Away (album)

Review: Dream Your Life Away (album)

Kate Immergluck

Last year was a big year for James Keogh, the Australian artist fans know as Vance Joy. His performance at Lollapalooza in August carried crowds away on the current of “Riptide,” a song which later that month hit number one on Billboard’s Alternative Chart. In October, Taylor Swift sprinkled her magic on the breakout hit when she covered it on BBC Radio 1.

Since then, the song has filtered through the static of alternative and pop radio stations around the country. Its captivating and bouncing melody has people singing the enigmatic yet oddly relatable, lyrics softly to themselves.

“Riptide” is a refreshing and dazzling single that deserves the spotlight it received. However, it casts a shadow on the rest of Vance Joy’s equally, if not more, enchanting album “Dream Your Life Away.”

His buoyant melodies beg anyone who hears them to tap their feet, snap, sway and dance right along to the life he sings about. His lyrics resonate on a fundamentally human level. His songs give a voice to the unspoken stories hearts yearn to tell. “There will always be another time for us to fall in love/ But it never cuts you quite as deep as that first time” he sings in “First Time.”

The songs have a distinct style but are also reminiscent of other acoustic alternative artists. “All I Ever Wanted” could hang right with the Avett Brother’s album “The Carpenter” without a second thought. The rhythm behind the vocal dips and climactic swells in “The Best That I Can” has a drumming heartbeat that resemble Ed Sheeran’s mellower songs from “X,” like “Photograph” and “Tenerife Sea.”

To me though, the real star is “My Kind of Man.” In this song, Keogh explains the tentativeness of falling in love and the bravery of admitting it. The honesty poured into these lyrics gives the song a vulnerability that everyone who has ever fallen in love can relate to.

“My Kind of Man” is the last song on the album and it ends with the advice: “find a thing that you love, find a thing you understand.” Thank you Vance Joy, for I have found just that in your album.