I love the intentions, I love the thematics, I love the position, I love the guitar sounds, I enjoy the lemon sweetness & the spleen of the vocals, but “Millions Dreams” is made to displease me for several reasons. Hopefully not totally.
First, it's a local product and not a global one, released on a belgian only label, with shows so far only in the french part of Belgium, a media coverage typically belgian too, with maybe if everything goes well a release in France later and that's all. So far no features on blogs from the global indie scene, no videos for a song (just regular live ones).
Secondly, Loïc B.O. belongs to a local scene too, having played during years as leader of the alternative pop-rock band Flexa Lyndo, he follows now the local evolution with a solo record where his attention is now more on songwriting and less on accessible melody. Another Flexa Lyndo would have been senseless, an impasse, instead of being stuck in demotivation, the search for more sense and signification was the obvious tiny light at the end of the tunnel. I feel relieved that this album sounds more like Thomas Méry or Squares on Both Sides, than the mainstream and superficial records of the successful belgian pop-rockers Girls in Hawai, than the sounds of Flexa Lyndo. This change of perspective is complex and total and references like Radar Bros, Spain or Mazzy Star are admitted. This is theoretically perfect.
Thirdly, the biggest imperfection of this album comes from the sound production smooth perfection and from the way contributors are integrated into the songs. For an indie record the sound of “Million Dreams” seems radio pre-formatted and lacks of exuberance and freedom, while I can consider this as logic, applied on all tracks it removes freshness and spontaneity. Invited musicians (Valérie Balligand (cello and backing vocals), Emmanuelle Meurice (violin and backing vocals) and Kevin Guillaume (drums) mostly add layers and serve the songs much more than confronting themselves with the emotions, never adding tension, only making everything softer and more inoffensive.
Fourthly, even if more adult and more melancholic than his previous works, “Million Dreams” keeps mainstream intentions, there are no risks at listening to these songs, of course there is a certain spleen but you won't discover precipices under your feet, it's always comfortable. There is no work around atmospheres or instants of deep graceful lucidity. Sometimes we could be close but finally we are always safe. While listening to this record, never my heartbeat change, never my eyes are becoming wet at some thought which might emerge from my mind and after some time i feel bored.
Speaking of subjectivity, I can't make any reproach, I just follow different lines, got different sensitivity and a specific records collection, but once that said, if the goal was to make a slowcore album or something for the sake of pure art and emotional expression, it is indeed, objectively, a failure. And I'm using this strong word because I'm just sure it could have been a so much better album, one that I've could put close to those by Rivulets, Talons, Owen, Viro/Miré,... and this list could goes on.
What I can't understand is that even if this record is highly coherent, a few songs escape from the reasons evoked. “One last song” is slow and minimalist, same almost constant chord on a reverberated electric guitar and sweet and sad lamentation vocals, for an invading melancholy and a length of seven minutes. Superb.
“Personomic crisis” is build around an acoustic guitar, drone layers of synth sounds appear at times in the background – later some subtle drums add a welcome warmth - and the vocals of Loïc Bodson slowly declaims lyrics with an intimate tension and an introspective reflexive perspective. I would just have removed all the backing vocals which sadly erase a feeling of loneliness. While listening you just wish to snuggle in a warm duvet while it is snowing through an icy night just on the other side of the window. “It's you” is a marvelous love song, simple but moving : acoustic guitar, ebow and softly whispered seductive vocals.
I resume “Million Dreams” to three songs that I plan to keep preciously and forever, and I don't want to listen anymore to the eight other ones. This is a strange dichotomy I can't really explain more, I just hope that on his second album, this minority will take the lead.