Troye Sivan, “In a Dream” (Capitol)
Somewhere between a single and an album sits the EP and that's how we get our latest dose of Troye Sivan — his six-track “In a Dream.”
It's a perfectly-timed appetizer for an evolving artist — a wistful and experimental musical postcard for an uneasy era. Many songs have an extended house break, as if Sivan was stepping away to dance furiously on his own.
Sivan reunites with producer Oscar Görres, who worked on some songs from “Bloom,” Sivan's last, marvelous full-length album in 2018, including the awesome track “My My My!”
This time, Görres and Sivan stretch and play with song structure and length, a fun little present for Sivan fans and an indication that perhaps he's restless mining the same territory. Lyric-wise, he's lost a little of his swagger, more vulnerable.
“Easy” has a '80s, “Pretty in Pink” vibe with echoing computer-altered vocals and spacy, thick slabs of synth. The less-than-a-minute “could cry just thinkin about you” has Sivan's vocals so distorted he sounds like he's singing deep in a swimming pool.
The clear standout is the dreamy "Take Yourself Home," the only song finished during the pandemic. It is stunning, hypnotic and sexy. It even has an anti-urban feel. "I’m tired of the city," he sing. “If I’m gonna die, let’s die somewhere pretty."
Sivan's voice gets drunken for “STUD,” a pleading song to a wannabe lover distorted by various effects. He looks back with “Rager teenager!” which reveals a confessional side to the Australian singer-songwriter and lyrics that call back to a pre-coronavirus era. “I just wanna sing loud/I just wanna lose myself in the crowd."
The title track comes last, a sturdy and more conventional song offering a glimpse of an artist stuck in heartbreak. “It’s all just feeling real now/So far away but I still feel you everywhere.”
Not too little, not too much. Sivan's EP is the Goldilocks of quarantine.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press