“Dream Out Loud” by Singer/Songwriter/Vocalist Rob Alexander

The blending of Latin music with commercial R&B is a potent concoction in the right hands. Rob Alexander has proven with his preceding two albums that he understands how to create music with mass appeal that possesses genuine musical depth. His third album Dream Out Loud is a thirteen track collection mingling those aforementioned styles with substantive lyrical content as well. Make no mistake, Alexander isn’t attempting to redefine the art of songwriting with these tracks, they embrace fundamentals above all else, but it is a deeply felt expression of both his skills and personality.

He’s working with the same team as before. Producer Gabe Lopez returns after helming the chair for Alexander’s first two releases and brings the same strengths. His attention to detail and balance are key elements in the collection’s success. Elton John’s touring band, including renowned guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Davey Johnstone, backs Alexander once again and sharpens the music’s edge.

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That’s apparent during the album opener. “Yesterday’s News” is a complete band performance and Johnstone lays down fiery guitar fills at key points during the performance. Alexander benefits from a smattering of vocal help throughout Dream Out Loud, but his remarkably robust voice is more than enough to carry this track and later numbers.

The drumming is another consistent strength of Dream Out Loud. It has a commanding effect on the album’s second track “Dream Out Loud”. Placing a title song so early in a release is often reflective of the artist’s confidence in their work and that seems to be the case here. The song’s thunderous backbeat drives its message deeper into listener’s subconscious and there’s a raw quality to the sound that rock fans will enjoy.

“Nothing To Be Afraid of Now” demonstrates Alexander’s natural affinity for capturing a song’s natural uplift. The sense of walking into a promising new future is prominent throughout this performance and he has a sure hand for interjecting it into each syllable. The drum sound is a little overpowering here but never in a way that compromises your enjoyment of the song.

“Love Will Find You” delivers a familiar message but has its own style. Low-watt longing burns throughout the track and its steady simmer keeps you listening. There are some touches present during the song that may seem a little forced for some listeners, but these additions are far from enough to undermine the track. “Angel and Johnny” is one of the album’s more ambitious efforts but Alexander and his supporting musicians are more than capable of pulling it off. It shares many of the same instrumental attributes as the earlier “A Song to Get Us Through” but it is far more artful. Despite its artfulness, however, it never risks pretentiousness.

Well-used reverb adds some teeth to the central guitar part for “Hot Potato” and the loose drumming driving it forward gives it the right amount of energy. Alexander serves us a knowing and relaxed vocal while Johnston will please many with his slide guitar playing during the track’s second half. Rob Alexander’s Dream Out Loud continues the same confident stride towards worldwide renown began with his preceding releases. 

Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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