The sounds of a guitar wobbling with expertly manipulated pedal work is infectious in its own right. But only when coupled with eccentrically beautiful vocal talent does it truly become something special. In this category of “something special” we are introduced to the debut album from Portland band No One of Consequence, Believable Dream.
The album kicks off with an absolute jam in the title song, “Believable Dream”. The guitar, played by lead singer Julia Rosen and her husband, Josh Holmes, is a standout feature which helps to set the tone for the entire album. But it’s Julia’s vocals that have you anticipating each track. She has a sound that brings to mind the soothing vocals of an artist like Natalie Merchant. The intriguing interplay between the husband and wife duo plays out like a duet at times with Josh’s guitar and Julia’s voice. But by no means is No One of Consequence solely a duet—Ben Dahmes(of Roselit Bone and Mouth Painter) on drums and Chris Marshall on bass deserve recognition for what they bring to round out the sound of the record. It’s that collective sound that takes on several machinations from bluesy, folk, to full on sound all the while maintaining a musical essence that’s uniquely theirs.
This guitar work takes center stage in the track “Factual Sky.” Here we get four minutes and sixteen seconds of pure bluesy rock guitar shredding through the air like a festival jam session, but way less indulgent. That continuous riff is accompanied by the rest of the band, adding a more twangy element giving the track its more red-dirt country aesthetic. The song is performed with such beautiful execution, it’s almost impossible not to get lost in the sonic dreamscape.
A track like “Paper Thin” is effective in a very different way. The band slows things down for this ballad while Rosen takes our hearts and souls on a journey with relatably devastating lyrics. The song speaks right to the heart of the matter with lyrical poetry: “With my proud heart and tender skin, I’m Paper Thin.” The type of vulnerability displayed in this song cuts right through with its honesty. It sits with you.
The album's musical saga continues with the alt-country sounds of “In the Shadows.” This is a song with a defined swagger once again thrust forward by a shredding guitar. This is a longer song—nearly eight minutes—and takes that first minute just to get started. But when it does, you immediately know it was worth the wait as it just busts through that wall of the hushed intro with a ruckus instrumental roar before Julia’s vocal comes in and balances everything. The song effortlessly rolls through several tempo changes while never losing its momentum, resulting in it never feels like it’s an almost eight minute long song.
Believable Dream is an album with an interesting range of genre influences, each expertly executed while never particularly redefining. That works for this album as it introduces their unquestionable talent as far as instrumentation and songwriting. It’s the type of debut record that is an absolute joy to experience, and leaves you anticipating what they do next. The bluesy country instrumental elements are packed full of foot-stomping jubilation, but it’s the vocals of lead singer Rosen that really stay with you. We feel it through the pain felt in her voice and contained in the lyrics. These ingredients of a jammin’ good ‘ol time, and the deeper moments of reflection and confession, leave you with an album that has serious potential to reach within and affect any lover of good music.