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Mid Dream

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iTunes Review

With an album cover that looks more like Paul Simon’s self-titled 1972 solo album than anything by his Bay Area band Birds & Batteries, frontman Mike Sempert considers Mid Dream a solo record, despite including his bandmates Colin Fahrner and Jill Heinke on drums and bass, respectively. Certain tracks here surely have a more direct approach than is his band’s style, but songs such as the title track, “Finest Line," and “Ms. Metronome” could easily be classified as Birds & Batteries by their sound. The leaner, direct rock of “Oceans of Rock and Roll” suggests a new day in the Sempert household, but it’s not followed up on until the album’s second half. “Ain’t I Good to You” puts acoustic guitar to good use in a sparse arrangement. “Survival” centers on piano and voice for a Jackson Browne–like tune, if Browne had a higher vocal range. Singer Sonya Cotton handles the female harmonies (that'd be the Rosemary Butler parts). “Recovery” plays as a startlingly direct confession that turns into a massive jam during the song’s second half. 

Customer Reviews

A promising artist continues his journey

Mike Sempert and his various bands have been near the top of my list of artists deserving of more attention since his days with Dusky Silo. So I was excited to hear his first solo album.

Sempert's work tends to reveal itself over time, but some reactions after a first listen: Mid Dream turns down the prominent electronic sounds of some of his work in favor of a more analogue sound featuring guitars (including his signature pedal steel), live drums, acoustic and electric piano, and even the occasional saxophone. The overall sound harkens back to sophisticated 70s rock/pop--think The Band's later work, Paul Simon, Fleetwood Mac, which isn't to say this album sounds like any of them (although the title song obviously pays homage to Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams," even quoting a slide guitar riff).

The songs are emotional and deeply personal, addressing timeless themes like relationships and the challenges of making art. His lyrics have a simplicity and directness that shows a certain maturity, not obscuring the message in abstractions and wordplay.

The album sticks to subdued tempos and moods, which might lack enough variety for some listeners. But overall, this is a strong effort from Mike, and I continue to look forward to what he does next.

I love this guy!!!

Great sound, especially "Finest Line." Fabulous song!!!

Love It

Oh Good! Just found this great artist! I'm a fan!!

Mid Dream, Mike Sempert
View in iTunes

Customer Ratings