The Dream Society is very typical of recent Harper in that it sounds more rocky than folky and has abandoned some of Harpers unusual guitar work for a slightly more traditional style. Where it excels however is in the deeply personal, poetic and thought-provoking quality of it's lyrics which are above and beyond even Harper's usual high standards in this department. He remains one of the great unsung geniuses of UK music. The whole album is well worth hearing, but it's opening two and closing two tracks stand out. The first two, 'songs of love 1 and 2', are an insightful commentary of love and commitment, which happily manage to avoid most of the cliches that cling to those topics, back by some stonkingly good music. The penultimate track, 'Broken Wing' is probably the most emotive song with it's soaring guitar melodies and wistful lyrics. The final track, 'These Fifty Years' is a 15 minute epic in which Roy, God and Thomas Huxley argue about the nature of religion to a background of wildly varying music, reminiscent of Dylan in his 'band' days. It's clever, insightful and probably the best track on offer.
Ilove this album. Have been a fan of RH for more years than I want to admit. Love this album for what appears to be an autobiography of the artist at times. Psycopath is the most commercial track and Drugs for everyone appealing to the lighter side of RH but every track to me is worth alisten. If you like folk/rock give this album a shot.
If listening to the CD without first inspecting the nice glossy insert - great artwork too - or listening to Roy's musings on the bonus CD it's a surprise to hear the first vocal is female (somebody named Misumi). The 'quieter' tracks like the opener, the Dream Society and the sweet Broken Wing are well done, with Roy's excellent guitar work. Those tracks where Roy rocks out - Come the Revolution (trite), Psychopath or Songs of Love part two are generally less successful, though Angel of the Night is interesting. The obligatory 'long track' on the album- These Fifty Years - is agreeable too, with a frank dialogue between Roy and his god (who isn't God) and flute courtesy of Ian Anderson, if you like that kind of thing. The orchestal bits starting 'my other life on earth' are very good. This track and Roy's work generally has elaborate and personal lyrics some grades above the standard singer-songwriter fare. I'd be inclined to give all Roy Harper albums at least 5 stars but some of his are superior to this so it's, objectively, a four-star RH album.