Marthas Vineyard-bred singer/songwriter Charlotte Rose Benjamins debut album Dreamtina is a twenty something fever fantasy its intimate homegrown indie sensibilities remaining neck-deep in distorted dream pop fuzz and saturated in a wash of millennial irony though Benjamin hesitates not to wear her heart on her sleeve. Through lines such as You dont know me but Ill love you till I die I wanna go to the Mall of America and never come home and I like martinis dirty and tequila dry/Ive been unsatisfied since junior high she crafts high art from achingly human sentimentality. Simultaneously raw and sweet Dreamtina—as brutally intense as it is facetious—could very well be more honest of a listen than the majority of the years mainstream releases.
Opening Hayden Panettiere Intro is a short but sweet sliver of reverberated power pop Benjamin declaring Im one half a happy person darling isnt it a-stounding One almost hopes she might rework this into a full-length track as it is absolutely wonderful. Subsequently the down-tempo Louis finds Benjamin battling a crushing bout of romantic introspection as she delivers such solid lines as Last time I saw her her eyes werent right/Someone colored them in/But they left out the light. Instantly captivating Benjamins remarkable lyrical and instrumental abilities distinguish themselves continuing to deepen within Dreamtinas flow. The melancholy Deep Cut and standout Slot Machine while deeply tender in sentiment reveal Benjamins penchant for experimental composition. On the latter she refers to herself as a vegetable trying to stay alive within seconds of asking Does your girlfriend wanna stay the night/Does she like it when you touch her thigh/Does she know Id let you absolutely ruin my life Benjamin has proven herself a master of the great unrequited love lyric mutating its tried and true formula into an emotive stream of self-deprecating consciousness. At one point she confesses Ive got some problems but theyre so cliché and yet she may as well be the only one on earth to yearn as deeply.
Elsewhere Cumbies Parking Lot reaches for instrumental perfection with Benjamin left alone to join the new revolution. The albums dream pop influences are most evident here especially during its chorus on which Benjamin states And I dont wanna go home yet/You could take pictures of me and post them on the internet. The humid dejection of Heatstroke Summer finds the singer contemplating giving it all up at 35 seeming somehow more relaxed in her pining this time around. The muffled sound of dogs barking into the songs second half maintains the albums absurdist atmosphere while its lo-fi melody carries the listener back to those dingy basements and garages in which the sound was so long ago forged. Acoustic semi-apology Gracie and astounding Friend further explore Benjamins perception of herself through dysfunction shared with others declaring on the former Its only because having something to lose/Makes me wanna give it away. The latter in all of its stinging indie pop beauty may be the albums second standout. Here Benjamin utters her finest line Youre older than the window frame/Im 25 and Im in pain summing the album up in a single burning confession. In her discontent Benjamin rhymes untamed with Marisa Tomei noting her dissatisfaction with the 1993 movie Untamed Heart who can blame her before eventually remarking God this place is such a scene lets go talk shit/Next thing Im crying. The track serves as the ultimate expression of just friends but are we really anguish its lyrics relatable to anyone caught up in such emotional turmoil. Closing Panther Hollow collaboration Louis Pt. 2 winds the album down on a mellow note its neo-psychedelic murmur guiding the listener further into Benjamins dream of ephemeral youth at which point she sighs Oh Louis/Leave me be/Speak so sweet/Of the words that seem to move you more/Than mine ever could casting Dreamtinas final moment in the appropriate shade of twilight.
Easily among the years most exciting emerging artists Charlotte Rose Benjamin seems destined for indie glory. Her sound is entirely her own. Dreamtina is a quintessential millennial release Benjamins distinctive voice considering that of her generation as a whole speaking of its collective anxiety and desire through her intelligent humorous and ultimately compassionate lyrics. A unique recording any one of Dreamtinas tracks is tailor-made for a summer of heartache and longing its overwhelming air of sadness never for a second short on enough beauty to keep one hoping.