After a six year studio hiatus Daniel Amos returns with a lofty effort illustrating the impact author Frederick Buechner had on chief songwriter/vocalist Terry Taylor and, presumably, the entire band. The trouble with implied concept albums, however, is the difficulty songwriters face in bridging the many disparate and frankly "unsingable" themes involved. Thus excess filler material is inevitable. This album is no exception. Daniel Amos has always fared better with their edgier, more alternative material, however, this recording is mired in melancholy and inconsistency – the latter trait having patently dogged this band up until their 1987 artistic breakthrough Darn Floor Big Bite and to a lesser degree in their more musically stable period since. The contemplative themes comprising this album do not always lend themselves to accessible alterna-pop songs. Absent for the most part are guitarist Greg Flesch's biting and creative Snakefinger-esque guitar riffs, the band's melodramatic 10cc derived vocal harmonies (Godley & Crème era) and hook laden melodies a la Electric Light Orchestra. While Buechner may have been an admirable and inspirational fellow this collection of songs frequently fails to convey that reverence to the listener. Taylor's humdrum delivery and bland band arrangements counters the exceptional work he's done in his other band Lost Dogs and noteworthy Daniel Amos releases like the brilliant Motor Cycle and the David Bowie infused Songs from the Heart. By contrast the plodding pace of Mr. Buechner's Dream gives its immediate predecessor Songs from the Heart (which was regarded as an uneven and brooding affair) a new degree of continuity and energy. This collection is not devoid of engaging material; Outstanding tracks include "Easy for You", a noisy throwback to 1987 and the rootsy and jangly "Pregnant Pause" (which could've been included on Gift Horse or Scenic Routes, two of the Lost Dogs' finest recordings). There is an estimable album hidden amid these 33 tracks but sifting through for those gems may prove to be too tedious for the casual listener. The overriding stark and stripped down nature of this album may have been better served as a Taylor solo project as it defies many of the identifiable and longstanding trademarks of this band.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Sleger