“Dream Your Life Away” is Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy’s first full-length album. His single “Riptide”, which is on this album but released in 2013, went triple platinum in Australia and was also quite a success in the States. As is such, this freshman folk-ish album from Vance Joy has been greatly anticipated. Was it worth the wait? For the most part, I would answer yes.
Acoustic guitar, ukelele, and violin are generously distributed over almost every single track of “Dream Your Life Away.” The opening melody found on “Winds of Change”, with Joy’s falsetto accompanied by a steady beat and guitar strumming, might very well remind listeners of Mumford and Sons/Philip Philips (those two are basically the same). Thankfully, the issue that plagues both of those musical entities is not as prevalent here. That issue being, of course, that almost every single song sounds exactly the same. While Joy does use quite a bit of the same beat, variation in other areas mostly makes up for this.
“Riptide” is one of those examples of variation. The flighty ukelele strumming makes this song a treat; it is quite easy to see why it was released as a single!
The next stand-out on the album is “Georgia” This song slows things down and (surprise!) has a different beat than the others. The singer is reminiscing on a relationship that failed to work out, and the emotional energy is what makes this track shine. If I was to pick a favorite from “Dream Your Life Away”, this would be the one.
“First Time” and “All I Ever Wanted” pick up the pace again. From a musical standpoint, the prior track is fairly good, but lyrically the song is marred by the recounting of premarital sex and evading parents. The latter track is a fun light-rock-esque jam that is worth the listen.
To end the album, we are presented with “The Best That I Can” and “My Kind of Man.” These two are tied together, as Joy repeatedly bleats (he sounds a bit like a goat in some parts) that he is doing his utmost to be someone’s “Kind of Man.” Thankfully, the goat-ness is not present in both tracks, and to close out the album we are treated again to Joy’s beautiful falsetto.
The Bottom Line
Minor issues aside, if Vance Joy considers this folky album to be "The Best That [He] Can" do then he's in pretty good shape.