Channeling 90’s alternative influences through a modern indie rock filter, Charlotte Rose Benjamin‘s debut album Dreamtina is the perfect antidote for those suffering from a lack of Liz Phair witticism, Dinosaur Jr. guitar fuzz, and Mazzy Starr-style ethereal vocals. An album built around the concept of trying to be perfect, and accepting freedom in inadequacy, CRB’s songs touch upon the insecurities in all of us, but brightens the content with sardonic attitude.
CRB balances the sweet and salty in her songs, with tracks like “Louis” shooting off sharp ripostes (“Obsessive compulsory. No sense of humor. And I heard a rumor I can’t even say out loud. Let’s make our families proud), yet revealing a somber underbelly through the mournful chorus plea (“oh Louis, leave me be”). With a lyrical eye and ear for detail, Benjamin shows her storytelling acumen throughout the album. On “Satisfied”, she recounts inviting a person she’s seeing to a show, only for him to reveal he doesn’t want to be in a relationship (“You think you should be alone, and I think you should be with me”). Opening acoustically, the track veers into hard rock, matching the turbulence she’s feeling.
There’s great juxtaposition in songs like “Slot Machine”, which use jangly pop rock and humorous lyrics (“I’ll let you play me like a slot machine. I’ll let you win sometimes”) with an undercurrent of hurt and bitterness (“You don’t know me but I’ll love you till I die”). The album itself clashes between drifting acoustic numbers (“Deep Cut” floats by like Paramore‘s “The Only Exception”), and grungy numbers like “Cumbie’s Parking Lot”, which relishes its dirty guitar solo ending.
Dreamtina is a jam throughout, and a solid debut LP from this rising rock songwriter. Take a listen to the album when it comes out on April 22nd, and listen to the pre-released tracks here.