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Thursday, 8 March 2012


What Dreams are made: Del BEl Oneiric

About halfway through Oneiric, I began envisioning the album as the soundtrack to a significantly lower-key prequel to Christopher Nolan’s Inception. My imaginary prequel would begin after Leo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard wash up on the shores of Limbo and ends when they tear themselves out of the dream (this is all quickly summarized in the film. I always thought it could have been a standalone tale). The prequel follows them while they live as gods inside their own heads, and live a lifetime together in the space of a few minutes. Life is good inside Limbo, until the dream begins to overtake their memories of reality.
Del Bel’s debut embodies this notion of a beautiful dream gone sinister so perfectly. The first three tracks are chipper, pop-oriented tunes that don’t do the band’s range justice. The vocal talents of Lisa Conway are particularly important in getting you through the beginning of the album. She’s a great singer, with a lot of talent for delivering upbeat pop. But it’s at the turning point of the album,Beltone, that she and the band really get going. Conway’s vocals harden to an icy chill, and the band lets loose with a barrage of western-sounding guitars, creative use of dissonance and an increasingly thick and oppressive sound.
Each song on Oneiric turns up the feeling of unease just enough, so that by the end of the album you have no idea how you got to such a strange place. The band is clearly experienced with their craft, and they ought to be, considering it boasts members of Do Make Say Think, The Happiness Project, Ohbijou, Ensemble, Boxcar Boys, Kite Hill and more. It’s a veritable who’s who of Canadian music, and everyone just clicks.
- Chris Wright

Del Bel performs at El Mocambo on Friday March 9th with The Woodshed Orchestra and Alanna Gurr

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