Sound — 9
Many bands come up with their own names for the genre that they play. Adding -core to the end of any noun or adjective seems to be the stand-by of every underground band. Shh... This is A Library (or just Shh...) has not gone this far, labeling himself as Bedroom Pop or Lo-Fi. However, Melancholy Pop might have been a closer description of Shh...'s sound. His myspace page lists Owen and American Football as influences, but Dream Big sounds closer in sound to The Cure or New Order. The reverb and synths seems to have more in common with British pop music than any Kinsella project. The music itself has much more depth than the low budget it was made on suggests. With only 200 copies of the album made, it seems a shame that the availability of the record is so restricted. The music is varied throughout, from the fuzzy quasi-transcendental Okay with Okay to the minimal and heart-wrenching Cotton. The album is not with out its faults, Friends sounds naive and undeveloped, but for the most part the sounds are captivating.
Lyrics — 7
The band consists of one man, Brent Wolczynski, who sings and plays all the instruments on the record. Considering this, Dream Big can be viewed as more of an achievement. His vocals, like on the past records, sounds so tender and raw, that they feel like they could shatter into thousands of pieces at any moment. This leads you to feel the music emotionally, as well as hear it. Lyrically, it often feels ambiguous. Often the lyrics seem less like lyrics, but more like a stream of conscious narrative, seen clearly in Okay with Okay. Some of the songs lyrics seem directionless, and more for effect than meaning, I Like This doesn't say anything profound. Like the Animal Collecitve's early records, they often are quite childish and superficial, but certainly easy to relate to. However the meaning is more contained in the tonality and delivery of the vocals, than in the words. This along with Wolczynski's singing style is likely to divide listeners.
Overall Impression — 9
The album itself is like the beautifully designed case. It is complicated and very pretty, and fittingly the cover has no words on it. This album should be absorbed and felt, leading to feelings tranquility or transportation to the emotional doldrums. Alongside Shh..'s earlier efforts, Dream Big is more musically diverse and more enjoyable. Shh.. are a largely unknown band, a very well kept secret. In some ways it is a shame that this kind of vivid emotion is not shared, but in other ways this music is best kept out of the mainstream so its youthful sound is preserved, to be enjoyed by the select few in the know.