Steve Poltz – Dimstar

Dim Star Music
Steve Poltz – Dreamhouse

By Kyle DeCoste

Nova Scotia-born and San Diego-raised Steve Poltz is no rookie when it comes to the craft of songwriting, in fact, he co-wrote the longest-running song on the Billboard Top 100- Jewel’s You Were Meant For Me to be exact. Drawing influence from an eclectic and humourously random assortment of life experiences, Poltz has forged his character and his craft and secured his place in the songwriting landscape as an honest and amiable chap.

His newest offering, Dreamhouse, is produced by Joel Plaskett whose influence can easily be heard on songs such as Digging for Icicles where the percussion loop reminds me of Plaskett’s latest album Three or License Plate Eyes where reverb-drenched whispers create a dream-like soundscape like on Plaskett’s Down At The Khyber. License Plate Eyes is about as big as the sound gets throughout the entire album with most of the songs being quite stripped down with plenty of acoustic guitar and for the most part just some drums, percussion, bass and electric scattered here and there for good measure.

Poltz’s melody-writing is certainly something to be admired. He has created melodies that are completely original and from what I can hear borrow little to no motifs- a feat in itself. Although his melodies are far-separated from anything you’ve probably ever heard before, they somehow manage to maintain a certain catchiness which seems completely unique to his songs. In songs like Dreamhouse and Dreams #23, ascending diatonic melodies run all over the place and sound quite nice in context. The interplay between guitar and vocals throughout the album is really quite impressive and truly shows that Poltz has been at this songwriting thing for quite some time. Overall, the guitar parts don’t follow the vocal line enough to impose upon its space nor do they double the vocals exactly to create odd pop-influenced monophonic medieval music; they simply complement each other superbly.

Poltz’s songwriting tends to capture moments in songs rather than ideas which is a concept I am quite fond of. One of these songs that captures a moment perfectly is Dog in Bosnia, a beautiful song that captures a rainy day in a small town in Bosnia through the eyes of a dog. Another song that needs to be mentioned is Digging for Icicles, a song about love found by means of a car crash in a snow storm. One of my favourite lines of the entire album is from the title track and it summarizes Poltz’s infectious good cheer in stating “We’ll travel across the world because it’s spinning in our hand”. The mentioning of deep sea fishing in Mexico and a rainy day in Bosnia paired with an instrumental by the name of A Song for Kosovo would lead me to believe that Poltz has quite an affinity for traveling and there is a certain international flair to his songs which goes beyond just his dual citizenship.

For a nice and quaint dose of seasoned songwriting check out Steve Poltz’s latest offering Dreamhouse. It’s a fantastic album and I think everyone could use a bit of Steve Poltz in their daily life.