Dream, Ivory, the Filipino brother duo based out of Southern California, released their first full length album, About A Boy, the follow up to 2018’s Dream Ivory EP. In the four years between the two projects, brothers Christian and Louie Baello made a drastic change in musical style. So much so, listeners would be forgiven for believing they were listening to two different bands.
With the EP, Dream, Ivory created lush, hypnotic shoegaze soundscapes. On About A Boy, the band take a hard turn into synth-laden electronic pop-rock. Their new style is very reminiscent of MGMT and even 21 Pilots (minus the rapping). Since there wasn’t much music under their belts prior to About A Boy, the dramatic U-turn doesn’t undermine a long history in one lane of music. But for fans of their previous work it may be a little jarring. Traces of the wispy shoegaze vocal style can be found across the album, especially on tracks like “Boyhood,” which draw a thread of similarity between the two releases.
Lyrically, the album is intensely personal. There are tracks about substance abuse, relationship issues, interactions with their first-generation immigrant father, and a suicide attempt. The words are at times poetic, at times angsty, tonally falling somewhere in between the Fueled By Ramen “emo” heyday and Papa Roach’s first album. In fact, one of the tracks is called “I’m So Emo,” with the chorus of “Do you know what you do to me?” ringing out repeatedly. Throughout the album, the songs explore some dark territories. This contrasts starkly with the mostly upbeat poppy tones of the music. But there are rays of light in About A Boy, including “M.O.V.E.O.N,” a reflection of the brothers’ internal journeys which offers the epithet “Keep calm and move on.”
The dissonance between the music and lyrics on About A Boy may be uncomfortable for some to digest. But doesn’t that contrast between dark and light represent all of our experiences of coming to terms with life in this world? For fans of electronic tinged pop-rock that give a deep look into the musician’s inner-world, look no further than Dream, Ivory. Follow them on Instagram. And stream About A Boy HERE.