“Pop music with a very interesting and arty twist,” is how Richard Milne of WXRT Chicago described indie rock band Dream Version. Their music is urgent and complex, sometimes raw, but still easily accessible. The trio produces tunes with thoughtful lyrics and musical depth. Their upcoming second album, Fight Fair, will be released later this year.
The band’s 2015 debut Beginners was catchy, and touches on internal issues lead singer Alec Jensen was struggling with in his early-to-late twenties, including lost friendships, fear of vulnerability, and the conflict of desiring both the freedom of youth and a comfortable married life. His words are likably self-deprecating, and the music itself is multi-layered. Singles from the album, including “Romance” and “Hard of Hearing,” earned the band a lot of attention around Chicago, including a spot on Best of 2015 lists from CHIRP Radio and Chicago Mixtape, and nods from Deli Magazine and Midwest Action.
In 2016, Ned Harkness, the band’s multi-instrumentalist, left Dream Version to move to the Pacific Northwest, but the remaining three members, Jensen (vocals, bass), Eric Brummitt (guitar, keys), and Michael Kunik (drums), decided to slim down and tighten their sound and work on a second album, Fight Fair. Here Jensen’s lyrics express frustration with both himself and political injustices, and that frustration comes through in the music, more so than in aptly-named Beginners. The new songs are more raw, and the lyrics demand more attention from the listener, just as political issues seem to be requiring of us in 2017. Though there isn’t an easy solution from the band’s music, despite several attempts to find one, Fight Fair is an exercise in confession.
Dream Version plans to tour again this summer directly after the album’s release, and will be offering their tunes on vinyl for the first time. They’re also scheduled to play at Chicago’s Wicker Park Fest in late July.