The opening track, “Into Existence,” has dreamy harmonies and the 80’s synth-pop vibes. Not only is the music arrangement brilliant, and every instrument is well-structured, but also, the creative lyricism makes one feel like they’re lost from reality to a land of fairies. With the composition wrapped around Andrews’ tender, warm vocals, it all works together to give the feeling that this is not just a song; it’s the background music of a cool daydream. Perhaps the pandemic has caused enormous life changes, but the universe wasn’t exactly peaceful before it. We were afflicted by tussles all over the world and dreamed of a better existence, such as the one we have in our dreams. In “Dream State,” Andrew expresses the desire to be in a dream free of all the drama, like he did in “Into Existence.” The tunes felt like spells to fortify his dream and protect him from waking up.

When history is just facts, places, and statistics thrown together, I’m not interested, but when it’s told as a story, it’s fascinating. “Versailles” has an excellent storytelling structure, with Paul’s voice telling the story with passion and making it enjoyable. It mentions King Louis XIII and the speculations that he was homosexual, and also King Louis XIV’s time and the sex-charged gay ambiance back then. He started off with a dreamy, creative state, but in “Words to Sorrow” the idea of the lyrics takes a grey-ish turn, expressing loss, hardships along the way, making hearts heavy and souls vulnerable, with upbeat tunes and superb electro to make the atmosphere lighter. “Reach The Stars” evokes hopeful sensations, with the dream of finding a place where people can show their real identity in it. Carrying on with the same theme and much emotional lyrics and performance in “To Belong,” discussing the idea of how it’s difficult to belong when one’s authenticity doesn’t fit the retro mold of society, demonstrating the struggle with some strong lines like “now in a place, stuck between their wrongs and my rights, it’s an endless fight.” proving the cruelty out there that people treat each other with, leaving them “longing to belong” when it’s finest rights. I believe that Paul meant to create a gay anthem, but from what I see, he crafted a break-through piece from any kind of limitations, making it have to change to adjust, not the other way around.

In some novels, the writers find their pleasure in making each chapter darker than the one before it. Not Paul Andrews! He likes to stay optimistic. “Coming Home,” describes the dark place most of us gone to while the lock down yet he still positive with a voice full of live and 90’s groovy vibes, believing he’ll be soon in the home he was used to it. Continuing the positivity with slow, mellow beats and some blues vibes in “Masquerade (The Brave Will Rise Again),” assuring us that we’ll have new beginnings and “this masquerade will soon be gone.”

The album feels like a pleasant escapism from the gloomy days we’re living in. It processes a lot of events, conflicts, and sentiments with the 80’s synth pop, authentic indie pop, some blues vibes, and the feeling as if we’re on the dance floor in an alternative, better world.

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Viola Karmy