Photo Gallery: Ash Grunwald
by Jaymz Clements | September 2nd, 2014 3:30:PM EST
Dream Your Life Away's single challenge was to show there’s more to Vance Joy than "Riptide". That it does it so effectively is unexpected. From the jaunty pop-folk strains of "Winds of Change"(not a Scorpions cover), "Mess Is Mine" and "Who Am I", to the love-lorn laments of "Wasted Time” and single "First Time", Dream Your Life Away's a record that almost doesn't need "Riptide".
Vance Joy's appeal lies not just in floppy hair, but in universal relatability – storytelling full of generalised tales about growing up, of love, lust and loss, motifs of 'eyes' and time's passage all painted with a golden folky haze and an ever-present ukulele. Each song possesses a clear-eyed bittersweetness executed more calculatingly than a Stark in Game of Thrones.
The highlight is unassuming mid-album bracket "We All Die Trying To Get It Right" and "Georgia", songs so warm and intimate they’d make the XX crack a smile. And while lines like "She's something to behold/Elegant and bold /She's electricity running through my soul" aren't necessarily poetic genius, they are simple and effective. Similar generalisations amassed Powderfinger an easily-pleased army of followers, and "Red Eye" might be the best song the ’Finger never wrote – and one Boy & Bear would kill for. "All I Ever Wanted" and "Best That I Can", too, graduated from the Bernard Fanning school of solo folk.
It amounts to a debut LP that's confident, self-assured and classically Australian, with an appeal that's universal.
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