Ivan F. Devota – Dream (album review)

Do you remember my review of Ivan’s debut album? Well, good news is – back in 2019 he released another one! Let’s have a look at this one as well!

I will admit straight away, “Dream” was the first ever contact with Ivan’s music, a few notes into the opener “Wake Up” I was like – hell yeah!!! That’s some good tune!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t headbang to it – I was on the bus to work and it would look quite amusing, me headbanging in my work clothes….anyway, I’m digressing, so back to “Wake Up”. Simply put, this is without exaggeration amazing track. That passage with the keyboards in the back is simply fantastic, and I will heap praise upon praise upon this track (and you can be sure even now I will praise the whole album, but let’s keep this a secret for now, ok?).

4:59 long and with enough variety not to let you fall asleep, this is indeed a refreshing sound for all those missing Ivan’s cheerful melodies. It’s “Wake Up” for sure!

Advert for Ivan’s album “Dream” in 2019

The very second song, “Memories”, is also the longest one on the album. And as I’ve said before, it’s not easy to do a 5:48 long instrumental rock song. But rest assured, Ivan knows what he’s doing. Again, the spirit of the decades long gone is mightily present, the nostalgia arises with every note played. I will admit I miss some vocals here, it would be lovely with the right type of voice, you know… but it’s not something I would die without, the music is lovely and upbeat, so what’s here not to like. The nice balance between a fiery solos and the mellow, moody parts is certainly like going up and down in life – and in memories too. Oh, my…been there so many times.

“I’m in Love” was released as a single a month before the album (in August 2019), and as title suggest, it’s a song full of joy – unsurprisingly, have you ever seen anyone in love being sad? This 4:13 long tune is little weird at the first listen, at least for me it was, but the more you listen to it, the more you will like it.

Compared to the rest of the song on the album, “Daydreaming” is more like an intermezzo, clocking in less than 2 minutes, but even that suffices for this young ambitious guitarist from Bandung to create a wonderful atmosphere (and that saxophone is a nice surprise, although I wish it was used more).

And after the daydreaming is all done, let’s go “Home”. Starting with a nice mixture of accoustic and electric guitar, with the classic rock drums supporting, this is again a strong resemblance of the rock solidified in the 80s. I, for one, applaud. Such stuff is desperately needed.

One can’t but give a big thumb up for melodies Ivan creates. Every song has a beautifully crafted melodic line and this one is no exemption. And in my book there is a special credit for this union of guitar and flute.

Second half of the album brings us the titular track, “Dream”. A mid-tempo with a nice relaxing atmosphere, is nice, but the song is getting really really intense after the first half…it’s like a slow tsunami wave rising. Again, I am in love with the violin (and strings) piece here, that’s just a pure joy right now. Dream, you say? I say, yeah.

I swear I’m gonna chase Ivan down and talk to him! One of the questions will certainly be “What city light inspired you to write the track with the same name”? In this great song I am really enjoying the bass (and you should know by now I love a solid bass sound). Whoever plays the bass on this track is my hero! And it goes without saying the track can’t be bad with such a badass bass line. I would even go that far to proclaim it one of the highlights of the album. Here, I’ve said it.

“City Light” was this kind of a lighthearted tune, flying here and there as on the wings of the butterfly, however, “Flashback” gets us back to more serious rock adventure. It definitely sounds similar to some previous tracks, and it’s just up to you how you view it. I am enjoying it, basically in the same way I’ve enjoyed some other bands’ stuff…you know, you listen to the whole album without skipping a song, because it’s full of the music you like. The same thing is happening here. Does it sounds similar? Who cares…the only thing that matters here is the great feeling.

But “Last Chance”, oh, boy…!!! Just as you’ve prepared yourself for another rock anthem, Ivan attacked with a heavy artillery – a double bass drums! Well, no, he’s not gone into the death or black metal realm (that would indeed be weird), and in no time we’re back on track. If that’s my last chance to praise this album, I’m doing it right now! I like the heavier riffs here, that’s definitely a change to my liking! But the basic premise of the good ol’ rock music remains.

I was little curious how is Ivan going to play the whole song, as the first part didn’t indicate any interesting variety, but here I was proven wrong again. Nice keyboard insert indeed helped, but the melody in this song is just killing. That intensity beyond 4:24 and the climax of the song before it slowly fades into the slow accoustic ending is just magical.

And then it’s “Goodbye”. And it’s fitting, we’re in the very last track of the album. Again, Ivan takes us to fly over the land, into the dreams, from high places to low…on the sound of his guitar, it’s like a the first smell of spring, like a liberating ride in a convertible on the long, empty highway…and a massive thanks for that flute again! I really did enjoy the introduction of other instruments into the songs (of which I’ve written above) to enhance and enrich the listening experience.

But the total surprise was kept really for (almost) the end, as here, in this song, we do have a chance of even hear Ivan’s voice! Singing in his native language, it’s a wonderful thing to listen to! And a fitting end of the wonderful album as well!

What to say…OK, I don’t to tell you this one is also on my list of CDs to get once the postal service starts working again in a normal regime (at the moment it’s just too high a price for a postage, but there might be a way), but I don’t have enough words to encourage you to have a listen. I can’t imagine anyone disliking this instrumental rock gem. Thank you, Ivan, for your music!

Bandcamp: https://ivanfabiandevota.bandcamp.com/album/dream

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I am the founder/owner and editor-in-chief of the Rubber Axe webzine, the underground/overground cultural publication, publishing also this website dedicated to all things Indonesian. I'm a happily married guy with 2 kids and a fantastic wife, and I'm a relentless discoverer of all things cultural and culinary. An everlasting dreamer and idealist.

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