Unravel (Live) (self-released)
By: Mark Fisher
Since 1992 Amelia's Dream has been brewing their own brand of subtle rock music in the underground. Their debut album, Here in the Rage, turned a few heads (including those at the CMJ charts) but it was their follow up Love Tattoo that found a wealth of critical praise. The band has just released their most potent work to date, a live album titled Unravel.
Unravel manages to capture the sound the band has struggled to get across on a recording for the last decade. The intimate atmosphere of the album, immediately draws you in. Even if you end up not caring for Amelia?s Dream?s music, the initial sound the album exudes will certainly peak your curiosity.
The highlights here are abundant. The title track opens the album, setting the tone instantly with its driving beat and powerful vocal. Amelia?s voice has seemed very "hit and miss" on the band?s two studio offerings, however she establishes a much more authentic sound with her voice on Unraveland the key is this song. The album twists and turns through a series of up tempo acoustic based rock songs and introspective quieter songs. Another highlight comes in the form of "Blue Sky." While you may not find this song immediately striking, it is one often returned to on repeated listen. It?s soft and gentle invitation is simply too much to resist. The patriotic "Light a Candle" has a classic rock feel to it musically but lyrically it stands as a voice of defiance (likely inspired by the events of 9/11). The piano lays the groundwork for the song but, again, it?s Amelia?s vocal work that completes the songs and convinces the listener to come back. The "Save Me" bonus track is a brilliant piece of acoustic pop rock as well and is undoubtedly a highlight, a rare achievement for a bonus track.
Amelia?s Dream comes one step closer to capturing the hearts of the masses with Unravel. There are few moments here that feel like filler material and that certainly contributes to its strength. The less electric approach is a better fit for Amelia?s voice and as a result many of the songs have a more inspired feel to them, which in turn offers a more clear understanding and connection to the music and lyrics. Those looking for some strong acoustic rock with a singer/songwriter should not miss out on Unravel.