Under Review: Steve Poltz – Dreamhouse

In the vast world of singer-songwriters (and I mean the in the traditional, conventional sense), there are a slim few that have maintained my fandom over the years.  Sondre Lerche is one of them, as is Jonathan Richman, but none are favorites of mine more than Steve Poltz.  Since debuting in 1998 with One Left Shoe, Poltz hasn’t changed much about his style, but he remains an unfailingly creative force.  His last studio albums, 2008’s Traveling and its companion Unraveling, featured songs that Poltz had been playing live for years, giving the discs a very literal kind of familiarity.  Poltz’s new album, Dreamhouse, is composed of all-new compositions and a handful of new tricks to accompany his signature mix of tenderness and black humor.  Though he’s never been an exclusively acoustic or electric performer, Dreamhouse finds Poltz exploring some new sonic territories, such as electronic pop on “Digging For Icicles” and more outsider indie rock on “License Plate Eyes.”

One of Poltz’s main strengths has always been his songwriting, which twists and turns and incorporates playful imagery whenever possible.  The hazy harmonies on “Dreams #23” pair well with the psychedelic visions in the lyrics, and “Wish The Wind” is a barrage of sweet nothings, rhymes and allusions.  Even as far back as his work with The Rugburns, Poltz has had a knack for penning achingly sweet ballads, and Dreamhouse features some of his best work in that area.  While “Medicine” might not be on par with tear-jerking concert favorite “The Medical Career,” but it’s still a knockout.  “Song For Kosovo” provides a charming interlude that, without any words at all, manages to convey Poltz’s inimitable character.  With a closing cover of “The Way We Were,” Dreamhouse marks another triumph for this immensely talented artist.  Some musicians produce albums that sound like they were meant to please no one but the artist themselves, but after seeing (and being a part of) Poltz’s devoted fanbase for so many years, it’s clear that he aims to connect with each and every one of us.  The guy hasn’t missed yet.


~ by E. on June 2, 2010.

One Response to “Under Review: Steve Poltz – Dreamhouse”

  1. I rememeber a certain blogger singing along with “Silver Lining” as it blared out of the car radio when he was being driven to elementary school.

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