What’s it like “to live in endless fear of tragedy?” You don’t have to be naturally anxiety-prone to feel that way in 2023, a time of plague and war, among other ails. Sometimes a letter from a friend can be the balm to soothe frayed nerves. A letter that is “Addressed to You,” like the new single from Dillon Ryan and the Dream Romantic. Check it out on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rldaq9VYCbw
Dillon Ryan and his goth-tinged post-punk band can make you believe that the New Brunswick towns of Miramichi or Moncton in the 21st century could well be Manchester circa 1985. With melodies like the best British ’80s pop bands and new-wave guitar textures that emerge from a Maritime fog, the Dream Romantic sound like they fell out of a John Hughes soundtrack, with all the requisite romantic melancholy.
“Addressed To You” isn’t about teen angst, however: it’s about extending a lifeline expressing empathy for friends at any stage of their life. “I was going through a lot of anxiety and changes and worrying about the health of a lot of people around me,” says Ryan. Not uncommon in the early 2020s, which is why ‘Addressed To You’ should strike a universal chord. It’s about the toll one’s own mental health takes on relationships with others—some of whom might be in more danger than you: It’s about the idea of losing someone before you finally are able to make the steps to further yourself as a person.”
Listen on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/track/6QAKLbaw0omQGtb5SlbdYg?si=427f531b8a92408e&nd=1
The song, produced by John Mullane of the David Bowie-approved Halifax band In-Flight Safety, follows up Ryan’s acclaimed 2022 acoustic album Dreaming of Love, which honed his melodic skills in a more direct fashion. Returning with the full band meant a new approach to composition for the songwriter. “I came up with a lot of the song on piano first before transposing it to more of a guitar song,” he says. “I was really into a lot of the darker Echo & The Bunnymen stuff, as well as John Cale and Nick Cave. I’ve been really enjoying writing more skeletal compositions and then building the instrument hooks after the fact – giving the melody and words the proper forefront attention they require.”
The band’s arrangement transforms it into a stirring mid-tempo ballad that encapsulates much of what they do so well. “We wanted to capture multiple different emotions/feels in a singular song rather than showing it in different songs,” says Ryan. “The idea of unifying our upbeat rhythms and dynamics with the darker, more melancholy lyrics and chord progressions just seemed natural at this point.” In a world oversaturated with pathological positivity, it’s exciting to hear such an emotionally generous band.
Dillon Ryan and the Dream Romantic have three albums, have played more than 400 shows in Canada and won the 2017 Music New Brunswick Fan Choice Award. A new full-length is being prepared for release in the summer of 2023.