Henry Earnest - Dream River (Album Review)

 Irish muso Henry Earnest has been operating on the outskirts of the Irish music scene for several years now. As part of the Dublin collective knowns as Herzog TV, Earnest (who globetrots between Lisbon and Tokyo) has been gradually maturing from his bowl cut days to a fully fledged artist, abstracting silence with colours and impressions of carefully produced vocals and an understanding of the restraint needed to make successful electronic music.

On his last album 'When You Get Caught Between The Moon & Dublin City', Earnest positioned the music at the intersection of songwriting and production. On Dream River, however, the core of the songs seem to lie in the production, the creativeness with which the elements are given form. While not forgetting his 90's indie rock songwriting sensibilities, Earnest has become more of a painter than a poet. The result is a sonically compelling and touching record, filled with intentional emotional depth and vulnerability.

'Free' features an awesome sax contribution from Ryan Hagedorn and banjo from Diarmuid O’Connor, while 'Wings' is a wonderful album highlight, employing radio friendly pop vocal hooks, arctic electronics, and straightforward drum patterns. The song breaks apart midway, like a river stopping to have itself a dream, a theme repeated later in the album on 'Stand', which lets a gorgeous pop melody get taken away by a moment of calm, before trickling on again. ‘Hymn’ comes across as a hypnosis tape one may purchase to destress, and echoes the radio drama elements of Earnest's earlier work (‘Herzog’).

Ambiences, acoustic elements, and comely VSTs add depth to these tracks, but its Earnest's androgynous vocal performances that give the real character; teeming with personality and an idiosyncratic musicality. Dreamy.


Henry Earnest (Album Review)
Reviewed by Jay Honeycomb on February 13th 2022
Rating: 5