“The image is more than an idea. It is a vortex or cluster of fused ideas and is endowed with energy.” – Ezra Pound
Songs From A Golden Dream, the solo debut from The Mother Hips’ Greg Loiacono is a melodically rich poem, a series of thoughtful, gorgeously carved passages that interweave even as each section stands squarely on its own. Rock & roll is rarely so nakedly philosophical or delicately revealing, yet the whole album moves with limber, graceful elegance, each wave delivering one to a new shore in a shared landscape where a sort of Gnostic sensuality rules, the body served by throbbing rhythms but always dancing with holy spirits and capricious gods, a sense of purposeful, introspective movement inescapable as one travels through “doors of ancient verse” and over choppy seas until the world without is reflected within – and vice-versa.
Far from some challenging listening experience, Loiacono’s first album under his own name after 25 years as a pillar in the Hips is a colorful, engaging snapshot of his creative urges that’s a pleasure to wander inside. The depths of Golden Dream emerge over time, the way verses in one song call back to another or how cultural tendrils dart out to literature, art, and history to shape and reshape a passage over time. Enjoyable as is, the album is filled with value-added elements for listeners willing to spelunk its strata, but being smart and warmly accessible is just how Loiacono rolls and this album neatly ties together elements of power pop, Americana, and experimental rock.
Captured with fully formed feel by Loiacono and co-producer-engineer David Simon-Baker (ALO, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, Los Lobos), Golden Dream is best experienced by immersion through headphones or a strong set of speakers with at least a semblance of focus. There’s plenty of lifestyle accessory music out there and this is life philosophy music that marries personal tales with the greater mythologies humanity shares. That something so seemingly highfalutin struts like a freshly fucked young buck is one of the more charming contradictions afoot here.
Loiacono’s voice has never been more flexible or charismatic than this set, where he shows off a range fueled by fierce emotion that lets him soar in positively gospel ways even as his gutbucket bite remains sharp and well placed. And as enjoyable as his guitar pairing with Tim Bluhm in the Hips is, here he explores the full range of his playing, where slow hand deftness undulates with spark throwing turns offering echoes of ancestors as diverse as Eric Clapton and Bill Frisell. The rhythm team of drummer Todd Roper (Cake, Chuck Prophet) and bassist Scott Thunes (Frank Zappa, The Mother Hips, Fear) provide a winning foundation for Loiacono to shine while adding their own intriguing accents. Again, repeat spins reveal the true level of care and intuitive skill involved in this project. Guest turns from Jackie Greene on keys and Lefty Knight on sitar and pedal steel further flesh out the sound.
Ultimately, Songs From A Golden Dream is akin to a walking meditation, where the world glides past us as we focus on clearing the mind so what truly is may be revealed. “Let it flow, let it flow, there’s nothing more to know/ Let the music shatter the illusion of control,” incites Loiacono as the journey begins, and if one happily surrenders to the current it’s certain this dream will lead one to revealing new vistas.
Purchase Songs From A Golden Dream HERE