The Travel Guide – ‘Trading A Dream’ Review

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

Dynamically brilliant, Americana music can at times try too hard to invoke feelings through the compositions. When done right, the music shies close to powerful ballads detailing the troubles of everyday life with shining guitars and battering drums. The Travel Guide stretch their soundscape to the max on Trading A Dream. The group believes the record is more about inking this chapter into an archive and they could not be more right in their intention. 

From the get go, Trading A Dream is an album full of passion. The vocals tremble in their delivery, as if trying to correct the troubles through the words being sung. It’s honest and rehearsed as so. With long songs, the band moves from vocal woos to instrumental crescendos rivaling the fervor with dazzling guitars and tight rhythm sections. A mix of rather long songs trudge through the albums tracklist, with eight songs flying over the five minute mark. The songs will rarely have the pace to rival punk bands, but swing rather well as soft rock songs, moderately embracing glimmering guitar leads and intelligently catchy chord progressions. “Dogs And Crooked Cops” gives light at how inventive the band can be with their plucked arpeggios twisting around the chord progression and giving it life. Before long the guitars burst into rich solos and an  echoey daze. 

Rarely roaring with distortion, The Travel Guide aim their assault through buzzing guitar tones that toe the line between crunchy distortion and scratchy cleans. This helps their songs appeal in a more intimate fashion, such as the glittering “Everyone’s An Expert.” Sliding through leads and chords, the strums are soft and embraced rather soft. It’s like wrapping a heating blanket in the frigid December cold. Opening track “January Bones” shows how steady the band is at building dynamics, ranging from cooing chords to fuzzy distorted licks. “Long Year” possesses the same crushing dynamics with the song collapsing on the dark that overwhelms the lives of people, “it’s been a long year swallowing the pills of your promises.”

While the minutia of life can be difficult, expressing it can be tiring and fleeting but The Travel Guide make sure everything is done with vivid style and bombastic emotion. Boasting with meaning, Trading A Dream is an intimate album full of grandiose music that rips through the Americana genre with tenacity and grace. 

Score: 7.75/10