Frontiers/Now & Then FRCD 119
Produced by: Honeymoon Suite

Released: June 17 / Website
Closest Relative: Goo Goo Dolls
GENRE: Melodic Rock

  1. What I Know
  2. So Hard
  3. Still Lovin' You
  4. Just Love Somebody
  5. The Way I Do
  6. Dreamland
  7. Too Little, Too Late
  8. Gone
  9. Undone
  10. Lagavulin
  11. Radiant
  12. Even Now

Dreamland is the new European release Honeymoon Suite album.
This comes after the indie release of the 'other' HMS album Lemon Tongue late last year. Of the two records - this is the one to own. If fans didn't quite like what they read about the new modern approach of the band, then this album will suit you without question. And if you have already scored a copy of Lemon Tongue, there is more than enough on this release to make it an essential stand alone release.
This is still a step towards a more contemporary sound for the classic Canadian outfit, but being that a few tracks have been added/removed/rearranged, this album is a whole lot closer to the classic sound of old.
Three of the most grungy/modern tracks from Lemon Tongue are gone (Lemon Tongue, Don't Make Me Want You, Touch The Sun), as is the punkish Knew You When and the acoustic ballad Into Me Into You. 5 tracks out and 6 brought in. What an amazing difference a bit of tweaking can do.
I said in my Lemon Tongue review that this was the band moving on from their past...but with Dreamland that is only partially true.
The inclusion of some new tracks featuring the classic moody HMS melodic rock sound makes this album the perfect step forward while remaining faithful to ones past.
The mix of old and new now work well together, rather than against, with nothing on Dreamland sounding foreign to the band's classic sound.
New album Track by Track:
Now opening the album is What I Know a song that personifies the more modern edge of Honeymoon Suite 2002. It's darker, heavier and moodier, but has a heart of melodic gold. Johnnie's trademark crooning is still at play and while the band tune down their guitar sound and beef up the darker approach, the chorus is as catchy as Honeymoon Suite can be.
So Hard continues the dark and brooding approach, with soft and subtle verse leading into a more passionate guitar driven chorus, even if the pace is still subdued. Very catchy on multiple plays and inevitability becomes more familiar with age.
The inclusion of this 'new' track is a little cheeky. Still Loving You was a new studio track added to the band's 1989 The Singles compilation. Here it is the first of several added tracks. This is pure HMS heaven. Credited to long time band producer Jeff Hendrickson, the up-tempo ballad has a huge melodic chorus and additional hooks all over it.
Just Love Somebody is another new track, one of three that have been added to this album that I believe were recorded over the last couple of years, but culled initially for not retaining the modern sound of other songs. But they are back where they belong! This is a mid-tempo rocker with a typically catchy chorus and hard edge verse.
The Way I Do is a slow/mid tempo track with a good bridge and chorus, but not a great verse. Moody again and memorable for the chorus and duel electric/acoustic beat.
Dreamland is another classic Honeymoon Suite track. Another of the tracks recorded but not previously used, this has a wonderfully moody verse and another big heartfelt chorus.
Too Little Too Late is the third classic new track. No huge chorus, but melodies that grow with repeat listens.
Gone is Honeymoon Suite close to their classic roots, but moving forward in line with the modern elements of some tracks on this album.
Undone is another good modern song that grows. This track reminds me of the Goo Goo Dolls - acoustic guitar driven modern rock with an emotional and melodic chorus. In fact if the Goo Goo's had of released this, I have no doubt it would have got radio play. Still could!
Lagavulin is just awesome. It was one of my favourite off the Lemon Tongue release. This is the saddest, darkest and most emotionally moody tracks of this or any album. It's something new for the band, but the song is one of the most memorable of the album. Modern in it's sound, yet with some classic piano playing throughout the track.
Radiant is another new track - this one I have no idea where it came from, but it's sound suggests that it's from the more modern Lemon Tongue sessions. And you know what - this track has a killer chorus. Another modern rock/Goo Goo Dolls verse bursts into an even more Goo-ish anthem chorus, driven by acoustic guitars. Johnnie really changes his vocals for this one, but still sounds great.
Even Now finishes this album like Lemon Tongue was closed - with a ballad. And what a ballad. Lead by an acoustic intro, it's not long before the full band chime in and the lighters get raised into the air.
More modern sounding that classic Honeymoon Suite ballads, the chorus still takes us way back.
BOTTOM LINE: I am quite amazed how well this album works with it's track line up. Now the modern touches sound right at home and work for the benefit of the album's overall sound. This is still a modern-ish sounding record, but the classic sound is still there, more obviously on a few tracks. This album's songs seem to suggest that they were the bridge that lead to some of the more alternative numbers from the Lemon Tongue record that have now been discarded.
That album was good, but the songs that have been axed were the ones that really didn't fit the image of Honeymoon Suite in any era. The songs that have been added enhance the band's chances of moving forward without offending any classic fans.
This has gone from a maybe release with Lemon Tongue to an essential purchase of Dreamland for all HMS fans.
ESSENTIAL FOR: All fans of the band and fans of Canadian melodic rock.
DISCOGRAPHY:Honeymoon Suite . The Big Prize . Racing After Midnight . Monsters Under The Bed . Singles . Lemon Tongue . Dreamland

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