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You May Already Be Dreaming (Bonus Track Version)

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Album Review

Long a part of the Omaha music scene, Neva Dinova make their Saddle Creek debut with their third full-length, You May Already Be Dreaming, an album that fully explores the indie-Americana that bands like Bright Eyes have helped to define. Not that Neva Dinova's singer and guitarist Jake Bellows is just another Conor Oberst rip-off, because he is not. His voice has a compelling sonority to it, both plaintive and sure, and he's able to draw emotion without coming across as overly sentimental, like when he sings "I called you up late at night, I just can't speak when I'm high" on "Squirrels," or wonders what will happen upon his own death on the Hank Williams-influenced "Will the Ladies Send You Flowers?," complete with dobro-esque guitar solo. Much of the album, in fact, borders on the country side of things (it's only toward the end, on songs like "Apocalypse" and "Someone's Trippin'" that the band explore their shoegazing roots), with lyrics that move between timeless ("Got my jacket on, got my suit on" from "Funeral Home") and modern ("got to google a question," from the excellent "Supercomputer," perhaps one of the first songs to use the lowercase "google" as verb), and slow, plodding songs that work carefully to form a complete album. Which means, of course, that superficially You May Already Be Dreaming is flawed: Bellows has a lot of silly, clunky lines tucked within his more mellifluous phrases, and the songs, if carefully dissected, do begin to sound rather similar. But as an entire composition, the record presents a thorough and well considered idea, a feeling that begins at the first acoustic guitar chords of "Love from Below" and carries well past the echoing trumpet of "A Man and His Dream," an album that isn't contained by its own physical limitations, and finds its success in its ability to convey an entire landscape, a situation, in beautifully stark clarity, even if the internal details might be blurred.


Formed: 1993

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Dreamy and sparse, delicate and moody, these are the elements that make Neva Dinova a memorable experience. Often lumped in with other groups that came along at the same time (including the Faint and Bright Eyes), the band actually started in 1993 at the height of the slowcore movement, a collaboration between guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Jake Bellows and bassist Heath Koontz. Making similarly airy and spacy music, the band tightened its sound live before a disastrous gig in Omaha shook up...
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You May Already Be Dreaming (Bonus Track Version), Neva Dinova
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