Dean Lewis is big in Australia. Seriously. It’s his home country and the Sydney native went five times platinum for his 2017 single, “Waves”. So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that his debut album A Place We Knew is chock full of the soaring balladry he’s known for.
Anchored by the absolute smash “Be Alright,” driven by piano, stadium drums and a nervy vocal, the song can sound dramatic, but its author claims it’s about something different entirely, and it’s actually a song that’s meant to convey hope. The acoustic “Stay Awake” has an insistent beat that explodes into an anthemic chorus – “if the feeling’s good/stay awake/stay awake/with me.” It manages to sound huge without feeling blown out. “Waves” continues this trend with lightly plucked acoustic guitar strings, but feels like Lewis is singing it from the bottom of an echo chamber. His elastic vocals lend themselves to the atmosphere created in each of his songs. “Chemicals” with building strings and an elliptical guitar part is just another great example of this.
Dean Lewis can sometimes feel like a throwback to a sound that doesn’t sound so far away – the singer-songwriters of the mid-’00s. He’s one of those individuals with an innumerable amount of talent, whose voice bridges the gap between writing good songs and creating great environments for them to exist in. It’s a hard thing to do, but he has done quite a job on it with A Place We Know.
- Brendan Hilliard, Obviate Media
This review was written by Brendan Hilliard, of Obviate Media. Obviate Media is a Chicago-based blog covering music and pop culture. Check them out, here: Obviate Media.