In Dreams

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Since the middle of the 2000s, Chicago resident Lisle Mitnik has been crafting magical indie pop in dorm basements, tiny apartments, and now, a home studio. Operating under the name Fireflies, he's been cranking out songs, singles, EPs, and albums; In Dreams is his third and it's the usual melodically melancholy state of affairs. Mitnik surrounds his innocent vocals (think Gregory Webster of the Razorcuts) with gently strummed, ever jangling guitars; layers of keyboards, including some nice Mellotron-y sounds; swaying rhythms; and enough melancholy teardrops to fill a gallon bucket. Some of the songs are slow and sad (like "Hiding Away" and "Cartoons"), some of them are sprightly and sad ("A Chance Someday" and "Everything Is Ending"); mostly they are midtempo and sad. It's a gloomy album made palatable by the intricate arrangements and hummable melodies, and it sounds a little bit like what the Left Banke might have sounded like if they had been shrunken down to miniature size in some kind of freak biological experiment. It's a beautiful little album, full of lovely songs and sentiment, that could only be improved by Mitnik raising his voice above a whisper from time to time. Still, if you're looking for an album to play late at night when you're hiding under the covers and don't want to wake anyone, or if you're on a long summer afternoon walk in the woods, Fireflies make a fine companion and In Dreams is their most accomplished album to date.

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