Premiere: Hypnotized by Simple Pleasures with The Parlor’s “Dream”

Proceeding an intense period of loss, “Dream” by husband and wife duo The Parlor is a hypnotic and slightly ethereal take on a love song, highlighting the seemingly fantastical nature of re-finding joy.
Stream: “Dream” – The Parlor

Blissfulness and simple pleasures are truly appreciated when contrasted with something distressing. They bring about a heightened euphoria, giving off the effect of drifting away in a daze. It becomes dream-like, feeling as though too good to be real, the niggling bits of gloom just streaks of mistiness blurring into your surroundings. Suddenly nothing else matters apart from the moment you’re in and the person you’re with.

Dream/ Drive- The Parlor EP artwork

Down at the cemetery
I picked an elderberry
and I showed you what happens when you crush one on your shirt
you laughed aloud at me
the light behind you brightly
your hair lifted up on a breeze and my heart hurt

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Dream”, the latest single by American duo The Parlor. Taken from a two song release Dream/Dive, due out July 19 via Five Kill Records, “Dream” is a love song from the perspective of two people who are both finding solace in a period of mourning. A hopeful guitar riff acts as a steady pathway, leading into a hypnotic blend of the natural and ethereal. Towards the end a faint whooshing sound makes its way through, feeling like a ghostly chill. It’s what keeps the protagonists and listener on the ground, a vague reminder of the cycle of life.

“The acoustic guitar riff at the beginning of “Dream” was written in a cabin on the marshes of a lake in the Adirondacks, “ The Parlor tells Atwood Magazine. “It felt like a ray of sunshine on a grey rainy day watching the ducks come in like airplanes landing.”  The slow touches create a sense of isolation, the hazy effect of the instrumentation like the tranquil movements of nature. There’s a hint of psychedelic warmth, especially in the vocals, akin to the likes of Tame Impala but tinged with a loneliness too.

Down at the cemetery
You picked an elderberry
and you showed me what happens when you crush one on your shirt
I laughed aloud at you
a breeze up and passed through
your eyes, the sky were both blue and my heart hurt

The Parlor is the project of husband and wife Eric Krans and Jen O’Connor named after the 19th century farmhouse in Altamont, New York, where they live in and record all their music.  Dream/ Drive is a follow-up to last year’s album Kiku, a collection of songs channelling the distress experienced after multiple miscarriages. As the duo explains, “During the recording of last year’s release Kiku, we wrote two songs that felt like outliers. Kiku was a tightly wound concept album about our multiple miscarriages, but “Dream” and “Dive” were both pointing toward the other side of that grief.” The grief is still present, there in the setting of a grave yard, but it’s sweeter, more lighthearted, as though taking the simplest things in life and magnifying them to into something special. There’s the picking of elderberries, a seasonal thing that’s not forever around, and preserving its presence in the form of a stain. There’s the laughing, the light, and the breeze. 

Kiku took so much courage to write/record/perform. The deeper we experienced the grief the further we went down what felt like a long shrinking hallway. At some point we squeezed ourselves through a tiny door that we knew it would be impossible to return through. On the other side was a wide open place. The sun shined bright. The sky was big. It became clear once we crossed through that dreams are the source of all suffering.” While “Dream” is real in simplicity, sonically it feels otherworldly. The dream pop element creates distance and both Krans’ and O’Connors’ vocals are faint like voices way inside the head. 

Something about a moment like this
I should rejoice in bliss
But deep in my soul I can’t dismiss
That every moment with you is like a dream

“Dreams are the source of all suffering,” the duo tells Atwood Magazine. “Dreams are wishes for different realities. They’re everywhere. We relate in dreams. We create and destroy while chasing dreams. Our identities are a tapestry of dreams. It felt like we had been blinded by them our entire lives. There’s a peace that opens up in our experience when we can see the difference between reality and dreaming. The deeper we ventured into experiencing suffering the more clear this duality became.” Thus, “Dream” initially becomes a subtle way of escaping the suffering but, as it progresses and Krans and O’Connors alternate in a kind of mystical take on love song, it’s more that the reality and the dreaming go hand in hand.

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Stream: “Dream” – The Parlor

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Francesca Rose

Francesca is a writer currently based in Mont-Tremblant who considers music a form of storytelling. She's fascinated by the connections that songs can form, whether it's relatable lyrics or the personal associations a sound conjures up.