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Review: Undercover Dream Lovers is fun, funky and reflective


The Undercover Dream Lovers, “It's All In Your Head" (The Undercover Dream Lovers)

The Undercover Dream Lovers is a one-man band whose debut album, “It's All In Your Head,” is a fun collection of funky songs which leave room for reflection among the merriment and dance beats.

Except for some songwriting or production assistance on a few tracks, Matt Koenig takes care of all the rest, including some particularly slinky bass lines and vocals that seems born out of thin air at high altitudes.

Avoiding some of the trapfalls of solo recordings emulating a full band, Koenig's music has a consolidated sound that gives each song a distinct identity while forming a coherent whole.

Opener “A Way Out” has a dance beat that nonetheless feels occasionally restrained, underpinning its slightly disoriented and very wounded sentiments about the end of a relationship. On the other hand, “Soon Enough,” co-written with Dent May, is a song of hope, its funky guitar and keyboard sprinkles leading the way forward amidst a process of search and discovery that has been going on far too long.

“Plane Ride” was completed in the wake of a March 2019 car accident that took the lives of English-Norwegian rock duo Her's and their tour manager while on a tour Koenig was also part of. Its guitar tone seems familiar from some of Her's songs, like the brilliant “What Once Was.” It's a subtle and classy tribute.

Other ace tracks include the dance floor appreciation “You Don't Have to Be Lonely,” the effervescent but desperate “Prisoner of Love” and long distance dedication “Chardonnay.”

Closer “Everyone's Confused" is also dazzling, a slow song with weeping keyboards, a top-notch bluesy guitar solo and another elastic bass groove underpinning the seemingly endless turbulence of a typical day in the life.

In an age where most sounds are available at the touch of a button, it's the songwriting that makes the difference on “It's All In Your Head,” which portends a future for The Undercover Dream Lovers that is as bright as the album's grooves.

Pablo Gorondi, The Associated Press