Sir Was, Holding on to a Dream

Despite the word ‘dream’ being closely associated with the music of Sir Was, the opening track of Holding on to a Dream begins with a sense of urgency; the Pop element of his ‘Dream Pop’ being most apparent.

The Pop that Sir Was does purvey isn’t annoying and has the right amount of reflection too, this is most apparent in his lyrics which are distinctly upbeat and display his newfound sense of confidence as an artist.

Sir Was or Joel Walsberg needed fifteen years of encouragement to release his debut album, Digging a Tunnel and emboldened by the positive reactions he has left the fear behind him saying he is, ‘ready to be clear and outspoken’. Given that he recorded his second album in the serene surroundings of a log cabin in rural Sweden he had the space to achieve this goal.

On No Giving Up his message not only mirrors his confidence but his determination too. Within the Pop elements of his music is a nod to Hip Hop and Soul and these are some of my favourite parts of the album with track Somewhere reminding me a lot of The Internet.

At times, the formula of echoey vocals, synths and sparse guitar riffs can become a little well, formulaic and when he treats us to more recognisable electronic, soulful, spacey sounds is when, for me, he is at his best.

Towards the end of the album he experiments with slowing down his vocals so the tracks are reminiscent of a record being played at the wrong speed. But thankfully with the final track, Pin Me Down it’s business as usual and the reflective lyrics and upbeat melodies ensure his intentions and sound, remain clear.