Cameron Avery’s debut output Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams sits comfortably in it’s own space. Sure, it isn’t covering completely untarnished and fertile ground but it’s certainly secure in an isolated state.
There has been a lot of care taken with this album. The compositions haven’t just been thrown together, they’ve been extensively deliberated over and thoroughly thought through which, in turn, makes for a cleaner and smoother project, essential for the type of music that Avery constructs.
Finding magic in the sounds most would toss aside, Cameron Avery has crafted a glorious, nuanced amalgamation of outcast beauty in Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams.
The record is eerily welcoming, like a person who’s just that little bit too nice. From the get go it draws you into its world and immerses you in its warmth, at the same time making you feel out of your depth with an extravagantly lavish nature.
Songs like Big Town Girl and Dance With Me absorb you, carrying your mind away from reality and into the ballrooms of the 20s, filled with spendthrift women in elaborate gowns and businessmen.
Do You Know Me By Heart, a theatrical cut from the ten-track record shares the same dramatised pop characteristics as Minogue’s Confide In Me and Timberlake’s Cry Me A River, the glitzy strings strengthening that comparison. The songs are elegant and drawn-out but rarely feel tedious or excessive, making for a capturing and enthralling listen.
Lyrically, the album certainly isn’t frivolous. Avery sings with great ardour and at times, sorrow about broken relationships, buying happiness and deep love, sporadically bringing to mind songwriters such as Father John Misty.
Single Wasted On Fidelity hears Avery explain his resort to money in order to cure his unhappiness after a demolished relationship; “So I gave myself to the sure things, the simple and the bored things”, he calls out in the chorus. The song is bittersweet, a full and rich instrumental serving as the backdrop to a story of abandonment, emptiness and desolation.
However, the weighty lyrics sometimes find themselves being shoved to the side in order to make room for the record’s striking orchestral arrangements and rich, prolific sounds. This is demonstrated in C’est Toi, a song where the highly intimate, experienced and personal lyrics are concealed by Avery’s hazy voice and the mighty instrumental.
The album feels dated, like it was made many years ago but maintains a relevancy only by contemporary interpretation of older ideas and soundscapes. On Pipe Dreams, Ripe Dreams, Avery merges indie swagger with Hollywood glamour in the most tasteful and well-executed way possible.
That’s the thing about this record. It’s this grand union of sounds that merge effortlessly to generate something you feel you’ve never heard before. Watch Me Take It Away is a vast change of pace for the record but even it still seamlessly fits in. With it’s swung beat and Arctic Monkeys-flavoured instrumental, the song is the most exploratory and unconventional cut on the record.
Avery has spent a fair portion of his career being a part of bands like Tame Impala, POND and The Growl. On Pipe Dreams, Ripe Dreams it is exceedingly evident that his experience in these previous musical endeavours has contributed to the maturity and simplicity of his first full-length.
This will be one of the most developed and evolved debut albums you will hear this year. Avery isn’t new to this game, he’s played it before and is well versed on how to turn the pressure that comes with a premiere output into an opportunity to take a risk and put himself out there boldly.
It’s a delicate album and despite how abrasive it can get at times, it’s gooey, frail and vulnerable at the core. The nostalgic value and vintage aesthetic of the record is something worth applauding. Avery tastefully takes bygone sounds, adds his own flavour to them and turns them into something glorious for the modern listener.
Debuts from bands like The Last Shadow Puppets hardly compare to the slick and developed sounds that Avery comes through with. It’s a colossal achievement to really nail your first album but Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams makes it seem like a piece of cake.