Drifting Away EP – Dream Alive


What a year it has already been for Los Angeles based quintet Dream Alive – consisting of Nikhil Koparkar aka Nik Phoeniks [vocals, keyboards], Ramon Ryder [rhythm guitar, vocals], Karan Parikh [lead guitar], Martin Fredriksson [bass], and David Myers [drummer] – as far as India is concerned. In January, two members of Dream Alive held an unplugged performance at Mumbai’s Blue Frog – namely, Nikhil and Karan – a set that included originals [mainly tracks from their EP, which is being reviewed here], their debut album, as well as covers, including a marvellous tribute to the late co-founder of Eagles, Glenn Frey, whose “Take It Easy” was memorably performed. In April, Dream Alive collected a ‘Best Video’ award at the 5th Artist Aloud Music Awards for “Don’t Say No” from their debut album, ‘Before The Dawn’ and, although members of the band were not present, the award was collected by Karan’s father, Ajay Parikh, an entrepreneur also known to play mean guitar. And, with the much awaited release of their ‘Drift Away EP’ in India – which made its debut in Los Angeles a year ago – things can only get better for Dream Alive, and they do…
On their debut album, Dream Alive were perhaps still trying to find their signature sound but, on this EP – consisting of four tracks – their maturity appears complete. The title-track flings Dream Alive steadfastly into the now bygone AoR arena with the wide-ranging vocals of Nikhil, who also plays simple and effective keyboards but, it is the grand yet immensely palatable guitar playing of Karan, who provides the true lifeblood for this EP, which has an obviously rock-flavoured theme, with more hooks and a harder cadence compared to their debut album. “Time To Go” spotlights the sweeping fervour of Karan’s guitaring on this uptempo scorcher, who goes completely manic with the instrument just after the song’s only soft spot, where passages of the track recall The Beatles’ “Revolution”. “What We’re Looking For” is comparatively softer but, appropriately, leads to the final track, “War In The Sky” which, for this reviewer, is undeniably the pick of the lot.
The very David Gilmour-esque guitar opening makes for an extremely well-crafted song that appears to be both cerebral and introspective and, if anything, appears to be a perfect ode to the post-Roger Waters Pink Floyd era. Support for the EP arrives from its extremely tight production – courtesy guitarist Karan who triples up as the album’s engineer and mixer too – where not only all the instruments are provided complete clarity, but without compromising on the clear vocals of Nikhil. The ‘Drifting Away EP’ keeps the sounds firmly tied to the early ’80s and to an era that influenced that very decade, resulting in songs that, through the years, should become timeless and, with a common thread in their thankfully very obvious influences, the tracks have a way of rekindling the innocence of youthful romance and the rebelliousness of growing up, built from Dream Alive’s amazing heartfelt songwriting and, of course, their sturdy musicianship. Go for it!

Listen and Download the songs here: http://www.artistaloud.com/dreamalive

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

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