The Mary Dream - This Kind of Life Review

The latest release from the Nashville duo The Mary Dream is not your average recording. This Kind of Life gracefully paints a new picture with each tone, strum and ring giving the listener an overwhelming wave of warmth and honesty. Each song captures a wonderful innocence that is exhibited brilliantly through very minimal arrangements and intelligent musicianship. Vocalist Elise Bellew and instrumentalist Blake Ryan Dayton have taken a mixture of truth, emotion and tone to another level. Simplicity and patience deliver eleven tracks to the ears like warm honey to the tongue.

The album starts with the dreamy "Deeper," which comes out of the gate with moody vocals drifting over a steady, driving beat. Melodic strength and memorable bridge allow this first track to be extremely radio friendly but remain interesting to a listener hanging on the fringes. "Sing" has a nice groove riding along on a distant piano. The sound is reminiscent of bands like Madder Rose and even the Cardigans who brilliantly incorporated grooves, vocal effects and hooky drum beats to deliver a very memorable sound. 

The title track, "This Kind of Life," pounds out of the speakers with a waltz-like mood, thick bottom and wash of guitar but quickly leads you down a path of sweet vocals and intelligently written poetry. The next track, "Wrong every time," is also groovy like "Sing" but it captures an innocence through Bellew's voice and melts into a different style. This tune contains a lot of greatness in the background with Dayton's creative acoustic and electric production. 

"Below Zero" accurately depicts blistering cold with it's first few notes which may lead the listener to believe a different course. It will lead you on but not abandon you after pulling your heart strings. A wonderful sonic ride which slowly twists from melancholy to deep sadness and back again. Another track filled with feeling and shape, "The Best of Me," takes your ears on a nice lyric journey filled with warm chorus arrangements and wide, flowing bridges. Bellew again takes hold of the listener's hand guiding them safely through a story of regret without getting too sad or weepy. A wonderful song wrapped tightly in beauty. 

"Home" starts with a distant piano slowly pushing through a mysterious cloud of feelings. Subtle accents from the cello, piano and acoustic guitar make this a masterpiece of devotion and examination. The next track, "Lighten Up," is very similar in color and warmth but its vocal just seems to dance effortlessly over the guitar and background making both tunes very unique, pure and wonderful.

"Best Thing" comes forward like a huge sea of sound crashing around you with soft, subtle ambiance and strong dynamic scope. "Burning Bridges" follows in the same footsteps keeping the momentum with a sweet piano intro and a large portion of love and warmth. As the recording concludes, we are blessed to be given "Save You" as our final installment. This is a beautiful ending to a warm, heartfelt masterpiece of elegant musicianship and songwriting. The flowing textures and smooth vocals on this song will make any listener crave a warm embrace from Bellew far before the tune is over. 

By the end of the record, my careful listening and appreciation for the emotion invested in its creation brought tears to my eyes. Excellent chord progressions, intelligent dynamics, and pure emotion fuel this piece masterfully. From a artists who are truly independent, this release contains all the quality, style and brilliance of a classic that many will try and emulate in the future. Bellew and Dayton should hold this one proudly and see what memorable gifts they have given to the ears of the world.

"This Kind of Life" is on sale October 29, 2009 from SuperUniverse.

Bryon Turcotte


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