Saddle Creek | Neva Dinova | Reviews


You May Already Be Dreaming

Author: Gabe Vigh
12/27/2013 | | | Record Review
Neva Dinova's "You May Already Be Dreaming", is probably one of the better albums that you've never heard of. As their final release before disbanding, the album set a high-water mark for the Omaha, Nebraska group, melding country, rock and folk flavors with lead singer Jake Bellows' distinct vocals to create a remarkable set of songs. Released in 2008, it was the bands first release for Saddle Creek Records, Conor Obersts' imprint, and the label has plans to reissue the bands two earlier CD's as well.

'Clouds' got the most attention from this album, and it still gets the most plays on The tune uses a dirty sounding guitar riff and bleak lyrics to create a captivatingly dark mood before morphing into a frenetic squeal of guitar soloing that's quite cathartic. Bellows has a habit of penning fairly grim lyrics (I've seen the good ones/ I've seen 'em drown) that may turn off some listeners but his delivery never lacks conviction and the songs that result are highly compelling.

Hot on its heels comes 'Supercomputer', another spooky number with clever lyrics using science and math to describe a dysfunctional world. The song structure is unique, and Bellows manages to channel some profound expressions of disillusionment while somehow keeping the song catchy. "I'm gonna sing you a song" he promises, "And it will break your soul".

If these offers sound a bit heavy for your taste, try 'Will the Ladies Send You Flowers', a more straightforward country-western jaunt, or 'She's a Ghost' a slow country waltz with love-sick lyrics that benefit from just the right mixture of dejection and hope.

It's rare to find an album like this, and to find a vocalist like Bellows. His lyrics are insightful, disturbing, wise and perennially weary and the songwriting on 'You May Already Be Dreaming' is consistently excellent. With little promise of new material coming from Neva Dinova anytime soon (Bellows has been recording solo since 2010) the tracks on 'Dreaming' seem all the more vital. It's like the band was able to bottle lightning, or at least a melancholy variety of grape that ages well.