Dream Your Life Away

by: Vance Joy

Recording under the stage name Vance Joy, Australian singer/songwriter James Keogh was vaulted to international attention in 2013 when the second single from his debut EP became a surprise multi-platinum hit in his home country. The easygoing, ukulele-led "Riptide" continued gaining traction, cracking the Top Ten in several European countries and even making waves in the U.S. The major labels quickly came calling, with Atlantic offering Keogh a purported five-album deal. Not a bad start for the former pro footballer who abandoned the sport to follow his artistic muse. With the global might of Atlantic at his back, the man now known as Vance Joy delivers his debut album, Dream Your Life Away. Built around the centerpiece of "Riptide," the album offers up a dozen or so additional songs in that familiar mold of romantic, introspective, acoustic folk-pop. Musically, Joy falls somewhere between the laid-back surfer charm of Jack Johnson and the folksy earnestness of Mumford & Sons. Much of Dream Your Life Away focuses on gently picked lovelorn pleas and and thoughtful, poetic musings. With its sweet harmonies and strong build, the album's most engaging track, "Winds of Change," opens the album, setting a warm, easy tone for the remaining 45 minutes. ~ Timothy Monger

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