Joe Macre Releases “The Dream is Free”
Plain rock n’ roll music doesn’t take a lot of talent to make, but if you’re setting out to make a proper prog rock record, you’ve got to have more than a decent skillset. In this genre, your chops are only as good as your creative wit can take them, and if there is a player reminding all of us just how grand a pedigree progressive rock enjoys right now, it’s Joe Macre via his new album The Dream is Free. Instead of streamlining his sound the way a lot of his peers might have in the same situation, Macre goes all-in on indulgence here, and the results of his daring move are quite smashing indeed.
The concept in The Dream is Free doesn’t get in the way of musical fluidity but instead allows for the tracklist to flow with great continuity. Instead of trying to use camp as a binder, Macre is letting tonal balance in “Ride or Die,” “These Cool Years (Graduation),” “The Dark Sky Sea,” and the title track to tie everything together. There’s a lot his rivals could learn from his patience with the slow-churning vibe of “Tell Me” or “Get Up, Crack Down,” the latter of which has radio potential I seldom hear in prog rock closers.
Deeply intuitive and bursting at the seams with an ambitiousness that has the ability to get a lot of artists into trouble, there’s no debating whether or not The Dream is Free was tailor-made for a certain kind of audience this year, but those who were meant to fall in love with its material are going to agree with me when I call Joe Macre a brilliant voice for this genre at the moment. He does progressive aesthetics a lot of favors in songs like “Drop Me Off at the Rainbow” and “Life in the Theater,” and I’ll be waiting to hear what he does with his drive next.