Published May 03, 2018Folk has always been a style known for its intimacy, an arena of raw emotion in which artists could bare their souls in the purest way. On Reuben and the Dark's second record, Reuben Bullock and band bring in the vivid imagery only folk can provide, but adds a dimension of grandeur and power that never sacrifices emotion.
The production on the record is striking — equal parts evocative and expansive. There's a cinematic quality across the entire record, with Bullock's voice sitting atop intricate soundscapes that fill the room. Warm synths fill the space across the record and guitar lines chime out into the distance, creating a lush, welcoming ambiance. Tracks like "Dreaming" pair these elements in rich, gorgeous, and ultimately cathartic ways.
While Bullock brings a considerable amount of power and heft to his vocals, there's a sense of vulnerability there too. Songs like "Woke Up a Rebel" and "Hurricane" show Bullock giving it everything he has, before penultimate track "Stay Wild" show a more restrained, but no less evocative, vocal performance. The record's lyricism is compelling and evocative from start to finish, especially on tracks like "Hallelujah," where the stark imagery pairs nicely with the record's expansive, sweeping atmosphere.
Arms of a Dream is the type of record that rewards closer listening, with new details constantly begging to be discovered. It's the extra touches that make Arms of a Dream a rewarding listen, from the reverb-heavy guitar lines, to the enveloping background vocals on "Stay Wild." It's a record constantly in motion, one that reveals new layers as the record goes on, and one that finds great beauty in Bullock's ambition. (Arts & Crafts)