(12 September 2004) The Dreaming have returned with a new eleven-track release entitled Shadow Days (DreamSuite Records (USA), 2004). Our visitors should recall the band's prior two releases Picture Book Rain and Silent (review). The Dreaming play a light blend of progressive rock and other styles laced with gorgeous female vocals. Based in Buffalo, NY the band is fronted with the silky vocals of Ann Janish-Schieder (lead and backing vocals, keyboard). The lineup is completed by newcomer Leah Pinnavaia (harmony vocals, clarinet and lead vocals on "Useful Vagueness"), with Ray Lorigo (guitar, bass), Daniel Haskin (guitar, ebow, keyboard), and Patrick O'Connell (drums, percussion and acoustic guitar on "The Dreaming"). The album also includes a guest appearance by Joe Pinnavaia [Leah's brother and co-member of the band Cosmic Stepping Stones] playing mandolin on "Mourning Rain."
The album demonstrates significant development since The Dreaming's prior two releases with more refined and lush arrangements joined by Leah's soaring soprano vocal harmonies. We can't wait to hear more from her. Tempo and musical styles vary across the album contributing to changes in mood and texture. Says Daniel Haskin, "Ray and I have been playing together for a long time and we orchestrate our parts a certain way to capture a feel." The trend continues into Shadow Days.
Shadow Days, like The Dreaming's earlier work, plays on the lighter side of progressive rock and is dominated by gentler art- or folk-rock oriented numbers. The ballads contribute to the most memorable moments of the album. Standouts include "Useful Vagueness" and "Love Is A Grieving Thing" with echoing acoustic and electric guitar parts amply contrasting with the singers' stunning vocals.
The new album is varied yet cohesive collection of tracks with most blending smoothly into the next in the running order. Opening with the upbeat folk rock tune "Demons," the album rapidly progresses into the dramatically produced "Useful Vagueness." The rapturous yet bluesy lead is sung by Leah Pinnavaia. The singers' backing harmonies perfectly complement the lush instrumentals that build in the bridge. "Perfect Skin" is the first of the album's ballads. A tender lyrical message led by Ann is perfectly balanced by Leah's harmonies and clarinet backing.
Ann's folky vocals are perfectly underscored by Leah's soaring soprano vocalise in "Piglet and the Black Fox," a typical progressive rock track with vast tempo and mood changes. "Supernova" is an downtempo piece with notable vocals by the two singers offset by a sharpness to the otherwise lush arrangement while the folk-oriented "Loki" instrumental is dominated by estremely crisp acoustic guitar licks.
"My Resurrection" is a more thickly arranged progressive rock number with Ann's evocative yet bluesy lead backed by Leah's lush harmonies. The perfect sonic blend of vocals and instrumental--especially electric guitar--arrangements is especially notable. "Mourning Rain" presents an immediate and striking change with layers of vocals backed by mandolin and folky acoustic instrumentation reminiscent of much earlier days.
Driven by blues guitar and standup bass, the album takes another 90 degree turn into a smokey lounge tune with "Hard Enough." Ann's vocal leads and soars above the arrangements between the notable guitar solos. The album concludes with the dramatically arranged cross-cultural and frenetic instrumental "The Dreaming." Leah's soaring vocal introduction compliments instrumentals before Ann's contrasting vocal enters the fray. Daniel told us, "[this track] was an off the cuff improv based upon a beat and was supposed to be immediate, feeding off each other at 1AM in the studio. We wanted it capture a moment and did the track with hardly any overdubbing."
The Dreaming have continued to demonstrate the maturity of a modern day progressive band with material spanning ballads, blues and rock. The variation between the accessible songs and the more intricate numbers works well for the band on this third release. Standouts include "Useful Vagueness," and "Love is a Grieving Thing" with "Perfect Skin" and "My Ressurection" running a close second. The band gig in the Buffalo area and we hope to catch one of their live performances and discuss it with our readers soon. In the meantime be sure to check out Shadow Days, available directly from the band's website!