Stirring up hazy imagery of sleepy home towns and lazy tumbleweeds, Neva Dinova has composed a fitting soundtrack for those laid-back summer evenings.
Omaha, Nebraska natives, Neva Dinova’s music represents their homeland terrain well. Simple, laid-back, and true to their roots, the band's newest release keeps things in recliner mode and never veers off a slow and determined pace. You May Already Be Dreaming has a sluggish unveiling, but as the album develops, the music has the potential to completely transfer the listener into a romantic small town daydream.
Led by the groggy-voiced Jake Bellows, Neva Dinova has been around since the early 1990s and You May Already Be Dreaming is the group's third full-length record. As the title suggests, Bellows has weaved together an album that reflects band members' roots with loose harmonies and a charming indifferent attitude. The overall effect is easy on the listener; with breezy melodies and an effortless energy, the album convincingly creates a dream-like haze.
Neva Dinova’s pace is religious. Every now and then the guitars will kick up the volume and distortion, but the tempo remains loyal to its Omaha love affair. This proves to be slightly deceiving, with a track that is remarkably louder and messier than the previous track, yet still in that exact same molded spot on the couch. This element gives the album subtle, yet much needed levels. You May Already Be Dreaming can feel a bit drawn out, but that’s part of the appeal to the moonshine and porch swing style. It may be a bit too relaxed for some listeners, but still, the tracks, taken individually, are strong enough to carry weight on their own.
Overall, the melodies are simplistic, yet Neva Dinova finds a delicate balance to maintain the listener’s attention. Bellows' voice is drowsy, and, back-dropped with a tired electric guitar, this Midwest twang could easily run the risk of becoming monotonous. Yet, only one song lags, and the record is the perfect soundtrack for a lazy summer evening. Highlights include “Tryptophan”, “Squirrels”, and the eloquent “No One Loves Me”, where Bellows croons, “No one loves me like I love me.” One of the few tunes that shakes the compilation awake is “What You Want”; it's a great composition, but definitely feels like a jolt amidst the cushion of the surrounding songs.
I’m not the biggest fan of the selection for the opening track; it didn’t pull me into the record, and I had to wait through the first few songs to really get attached in some way. But once I was drawn into You May Already Be Dreaming. I was locked into the ambiance. The success in this album is not just in pumping out solid tunes. Neva Dinova transported me into their own little world, and created an almost tangible vision of their sleepy home town. The music goes well beyond the simple act of listening -- it entices the imagination to wander down dusty roads and allows listeners to create their own sleepy Americana imagery and leave reality for just a moment.