Grant Nesmith is bringing the joys of summer to your ears with his album Dreams of the Coast. Packed with tracks that bring the imagery of sun and sea to mind, he will have you longing for the warm sun on your skin as you relax on the beach. While the album is packed with summery vibes, it also touches on some deeper themes such as ageing and the idea that time is passing too quickly.
Throughout the album, Nesmith has teamed up with a cast of talented musicians including Ed Dennis, Sadler Vaden, Gene Elders, Bruce James, Cole Rateliff, Ken Thomas and Nell Ciaccio. Together they create the ebb and flow of the album that thematically matches the lapping of ocean waves.
The album opens with ‘Never Die’ which is the first track to take on the theme of ageing in the album. The progressive opening gently draws you into the song while hitting you with some interesting beach vibes. The building of the opening drops for a more folk feel with the acoustic guitar. Nesmith’s vocals are a smooth folky ray like the sun glinting off the ocean. There is a really interesting arrangement to the track as it flows from easy vibes with hazy vocals to a more paced tempo that gets your foot tapping.
‘Kaleidoscope’ has an upbeat piano line that has you gently bobbing to its beat. There is a dancing feeling to the music while the vocals take a different route to the opening track. While Nesmith’s vocals retain their smooth flow, there is a wavy feeling to them. They form a river of sound that you float down while the warbling tones flitter over your senses. The harmonisations add a very Beach Boys vibe to the track while hitting you with a wave of nostalgia.
The more country vibes of ‘Another Day’ have you tapping to the really catchy melody. The fiddle is captivating as it hooks you and pulls you into the song. The vocals have a sadder note to them without wallowing in despair. This is the other track on the album that deals with ageing and has a more melancholic take than the opening track. Through the song, you feel that time has moved too fast and you don’t realise where it has all gone but that the time has been filled with good memories and vibes.
The title track ‘Dreams of the Coast’ continues the almost country vibes of the last track but brings a twanging guitar into play. This track brings the feeling of the ocean to the fore and you can almost taste the salty air of the beach. The lyrics are vivid in their imagery as they bring a picture of sun and sea to you. The laid-back delivery of the vocals has you sitting back, closing your eyes and relaxing where you sit. As you relax into the soundscape, you also feel the urge to gently sway to the music.
‘Morning’ has a more grounded feeling with an intimacy that closes in around you. This vibe is enhanced by the vocals that embrace you like a friend. There is still a touch of that surf vibe from the previous track but this is carefully woven into a more rock soundscape. The guitars lightly crash against you bringing an indie rock feeling that shakes you up a little after the soft intimacy of the start. There is an interesting movement in the track as you slip from intimacy to rock vibes only to dip into an almost nostalgic flow.
The next track is ‘Souvenir’ which takes a completely different route to the tracks that came before. The piano line has a bouncing feeling that gets your toes tapping to the line. This bounce is enhanced by the beats that bop around the soundscape. The higher vocal line also changes things up a little as it brings a strange sense of melancholic nostalgia to your ears. This is interesting because you get a hit of melancholy while also feeling an easy happiness. The interplay of these emotions keeps you captivated while bouncing along the melody.
‘Untitled’ draws you in with a delicate piano light that is so soft you feel like it could flutter away if you try to touch it. This line blends with a soaring guitar line that comes in at odds with the gentle piano line. However, the two combine for a wonderfully textured melody with an amazing depth. The echoing vocals float above the music like a misty layer that is rolling in from a distance. This song is a testament to the versatility of Nesmith because it is utterly different to everything else that came before it on the album.
The grounded feeling of earlier in the album is back with ‘Mountaintop’ as the guitar thrums against your ears. The shuffling beats have you moving to the rhythm while the vocals retain a little of the mistiness of the last track. While there is a grounded feeling to the music, the mistiness of the vocals brings a dreamy edge. It gives you the feeling of floating in the space between being awake and asleep. The lyrics send you flying across mountaintops through the imagery they bring to mind.
‘Wish’ is the shortest track on the album and is almost like a little interlude that makes you smile. The dreamy feeling to the music combines with the wistful vocals to put a smile on your face. The whistling throughout the track adds to the almost whimsical feeling the song generates letting you breathe easily before transitioning into the next song.
The acoustic guitar plucks its way beautifully against your ears in the opening of ‘Haunt’. There is an imploring vibe to the vocals on this track as the lyrics call out to someone. This vibe turns into something a little sadder as you try to move on and look for something light in the dark. The flowing melody has a wonderful forward momentum that you get swept up in. The light twang of country tones melds with some traditional folk elements for a very enjoyable listening experience.
The album comes to an end with the longest track ‘Such a Crime’. The zinging tones of the opening line vibrate away only to transform into a gentle rippling soundscape. There is a vast feeling to the music which is enhanced by the vocals which float and drift along the air. The guitar riff that comes in later has you flying across the atmosphere before tumbling to the rumbling drums. This is a very interesting yet easy way to end the album as you get a taste of many elements from the rest of the album while riding something unique to its conclusion.
Grant Nesmith has you resting on the beach only to fly across the mountaintops in his easy album Dreams of the Coast. Each track has a unique flavour to it while carrying a gentle beach thread. Through the album, you feel the stresses of life lift off your shoulders as you relax into the soft soundscapes he creates.