On the latest release from Dandelion Charm, “Scream Inside the Tear,” the duo unveils a profound exploration of their musical identity. Radiating an acquired confidence and maturity, their lyrics resonate with a compelling blend of folk, progressive-rock, and classic pop styles, all seamlessly supported by a formidable production. The album is available on CD and as a 48kHz / 24-bit lossless stereo download, the latter surely which is of greatest interest to high resolution enthusiasts.
In the midst of confronting a dark subject matter, the album "Scream Inside the Tear" emerges as a poignant tapestry of hope and acceptance. It encapsulates the sheer joy of embracing the present moment and cherishing the life we are given. Within its lyrical depths, the band delves into meditations on the afterlife, the solitary journey after losing a loved one, and the intricacies of mental health issues such as anxiety and psychosis. The album navigates the unexpected impacts and the raw emotions surrounding death, juxtaposed with a quest for joy in the face of life's absurdities.
Crafted with meticulous intention, the album adopts a circular structure that mirrors the perpetual cycles of life, death, and rebirth. Created by vocalist Clare Fowler and her husband John Fowler who sings, plays guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards, the duo take listeners on a sonic journey that encapsulates the essence of existence, where Dandelion Charm invites you to explore the intricate layers of their artistry with each resonating note and thought-provoking lyric.
Across the 13 tracks one will hear a beautiful blend of acoustic and electric guitars that rise to vast crescendos and peacefully fall into somber moments. The duo’s vocals dance through harmonies over top synth parts that lend to the spaciousness of John Fowler’s detailed mix.
I hear remnants of the Indigo Girls, Steven Wilson, Counting Crows, and similar groups in the texture of their songs. Opening with “Stronghold of Oblivion” which explores the concept of 'ashes to ashes, dust to dust’ in an ethereal manner of returning to the earth. Guitars sparkle nicely and vocal work is direct, distinct, and clear.
The duo devises excellent rhythm patterns, which feel unusual, yet fit perfectly into the most common of time signatures. “Find a Way” considers the need for achievable challenges, expressing that through working together, we can become greater than the sum of our parts. Hitting it hard “Visions and Prophecies” is a real rocker that showcases fantastic dynamics while pushing the duo into more of the pop realm. The song expresses how we are all victims of circumstance, and this can often lead to labeling people who are struggling or damaged.
John Fowler also mastered the album which he has meticulously engineered yielding an excellent clarity with elements that are rich and transparent. The overall balance is quite good with moments that drive deeply into the lower regions. The nuance of the fingers on the guitar is easily noticed, and the power of the drums is riveting.
By far “The Cure” has quickly become my favorite track as it professes how life rarely goes as planned. The song mirrors these unexpected changes as it covers so much ground from the acoustic driven intro to the blistering guitar solos. Falling closer to the Neo-Prog genre, the lyrics depict how we pursue a dream so hard that it ensnares us and deprives us of other experiences. Everything becomes very large with the gated snare drum whacking under the elevated vocals and sizzling guitars. The bass grinds underneath with keyboards flowing widely across the stereoscape. As the peaks and valleys of the song progress, a realization may set in that freeing oneself may take years.
One of the prettiest yet dark sounding songs I have heard from Dandelion Charm is the closing track “What Alchemy?” Captured within its sound I hear the solo work of Steven Wilson peering through as the duo unfurls how life-long soulmates, those lucky enough to find each other, eventually still have to separate. In all of its joy, immaculate sound, resonant tones, and crystal-clear vocals, the truth remains that we come here alone, and we effectively leave alone, while the cycle continues to forge forward in an endless loop.
A seriously underrated group that is strongly recommended for fans of progressive rock with folk leanings, plus listeners who seek out beautiful harmony vocals, and collectors that look for high-resolution recordings with excellent sonics.
Released October 20, 2023.
CD and Losless 48kHz / 24-bit download. Also available via popular streaming services.
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About the Author
Wesley is a lifelong music enthusiast. He started his career in the recording industry in New York City as an audio engineer, producer, and studio manager. Subsequently he toured across America as a guitarist with the short-lived band Land's Crossing. After many years in the technology sector and amassing a substantial vinyl and CD collection, he delved into immersive audio and created Hi-Res Edition to share with other listeners about the sound quality and discrete mixes available on many formats. He recently upgraded his system to 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos and continues to seek out and share about the best sounding releases.