The latest single from Dani Slovak is “Like a Dream”: an exhibition of raw, unfeigned feelings and emotion; and I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to write about it.
Immediately – and undeniably – there is pain to be felt in Slovak’s voice (which is, frankly, breathtaking). The coarse tone of Slovak’s lead firstly and stylistically recalls, at least for one, Lewis Capaldi (I am, however, unsure if aspiring singer-songwriters would perceive this as a compliment, despite it being given as one); but Slovak is not merely just another one-hit wonder of commercial heartbreak: he is far more than this.
“Like a Dream” swiftly develops as Slovak displays a stunning vocal range, demonstrating sublime techniques of melisma, voice-breaks and – for want of better words – croaky and husky undertones. There are notes reached at the heights of Slovak’s register, perhaps only hit through the bereavement he bravely explores, which remind me of the grit and soul often heard in the later performances of a fiery Kurt Cobain (see Nirvana’s harrowing cover of Mark Lanegan’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” from their MTV Unplugged In New York, 1994). This is genuinely impressive singing.
The intimacy effusing from only a man and his piano is to be liked and admired here. The piano chords are suitably played in delicate breves which create a vast and expansive atmosphere for the vocals to pervade with strength and nerve. One part of the listener might anticipate a crescendo of instruments, calling for a cathartic climax and release, yet Slovak implores we remain in his processing, his internalisation of hardship, making for a sincere account of vulnerability which is stripped-back, sobering and silencing.
In this type of work, the lyrics demand merit; those of Slovak are, without doubt, meritorious. As a writer of prose and poetry myself, I can confidently vouch for the lyricism of Slovak when I say it is noticeably brilliant:
‘Meet me on the frozen lakes,
where all the poets went to die,
I’ll cry in your loving arms like
In Search of Lost Time’
Finding yourself a fan of Slovak’s conjuring piano chords and vehement voice, you will have further respect for him as a musician who authentically champions an awareness of mental health and the tireless fight against anxiety and depression. Slovak is a doctor and future psychiatrist who, despite having 25,000 monthly listeners to his name (at the time of this publication), insists he can be emailed personally, in confidence, for the help of his listeners. Slovak explains that his music is made for the benefit of you – his listener – to help and guide you through the pains experienced in your own existence, and that is a beautiful thing.
Intimate, fervent and powerful.
Dani Slovak: Spotify | Sound Cloud | YouTube | Instagram
Original Photo Credits: Dani Slovak
Author: Harry Lowery (Instagram: @_hkglowery_)