By Alex Bakken
Let’s be honest, we all love that feeling of discovering something great before everyone else. There’s just something so, so good about knowing that you were one of the first people to jump on a trend that, just a
couple weeks later, everybody else is talking about. Does it make you a bit of a hipster? Sure. Is it still worth the pride? Absolutely. So if you’re like me, and you want to get on the early train for something that is sure to blow up, then you need—and I mean need—to listen to It’s a Dream by Hembree.
This album is a masterpiece, and I do not say that lightly. It is far and few between that an album is able to nuzzle itself inside your brain like It’s a Dream can. From the very first notes of the album’s introductory song you know you are in for a treat.
Hembree starts things off with a blast of energy, throwing you into the deep end with the triple whammy of lively songs “Reach Out,” the album’s title track, “It’s a Dream!,” and “Operators.” Each of these three songs is strong enough to act as an opener, but together they are somehow even stronger than the sum of their parts. On my first listen, I remember thinking to myself, “Ok, so when am I going to stop liking this?”
The answer: never.
From here, Hembree really sinks into the meat and potatoes of the album. Songs like “Luna” and “House on the Hill” move us away from the album’s early energy toward a more chill, ambient atmosphere. And as if that weren’t enough, we then come upon my personal favorite track, “I’ll Be on Time.” This hauntingly beautiful song walks us through the pangs of regret and confusion of a relationship lost. Genuinely, I needed to sit down and take a minute to myself the first time I heard it.
The hits only keep coming as the album continues, with songs “I Don’t Believe You,” “Panic” and “Daylight” standing out as exceptionally notable pieces. At its finale, Hembree wraps things up with the perfect alternative pop-rock hit “It’s Real!” and the album’s solemn closing track, “Time to Leave.”
While I am not entirely sure what specific artists Hembree drew from to piece together It’s a Dream, there are almost too many musical connections to name. So let me just say this, if you are a fan of Joywave, Radiohead, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink Floyd, Magic City Hippies or The Weeknd, do yourself a favor and put this on right away.
I have one last thing to say before I stop gushing about It’s a Dream. There are a lot of albums out there where track order does not matter, but this is not one of those albums. I cannot stress this enough, do not shuffle this on your first listen through. Hembree takes you through a fantastic journey of highs and lows throughout the full duration of the album. And as if that isn’t enough, this album even has a connecting storyline that focuses on addiction, recovery, and the impact that those can have on your personal relationships.
If you’ve been searching for something new, something that will impress your music-loving friends, or something that you can listen to on repeat for the next month, then your wait is over. This album is exactly what it says it is: It’s a Dream!