Jay Fraser - Buildings of Dreams (2011 LP)

Jay Fraser’s latest long player Buildings of Dreams opens with “The Price On My Head”, which begins with an old western landscape; nostalgic guitar picking followed by a pumping bass drum and continued up-tempo western drive. Fraser’s lyrics open with, “If I was an open book/There’d be nothing there to read”, and continues to the refrain with, “I got a price on my head that I don’t buy”. Pithy lyrics and a competent guitar groove make “The Price On My Head” a compelling piece.

“That’s How We Roll”, is a jovial hand clapping number, a song of self affirmation with the chorus’ festive, “It’s time to dance/To the beat of the clapping hands”.

Track three, “Walking A Fine Line”, deserves special commendation. Delta Blues inspired, this song has everything from a gritty vocal/guitar combination, to the mandatory wailing harmonica. This track is definitely the highlight of Buildings of Dreams. Some may disagree, but if you love dirty blues, check it out.

“Forty Miles East”, is redolent of a sentimental ballad, in fact it is. A sense of separation is induced with the evocative refrain, “Stranded, forty miles east”. The title track, “Buildings Of Dreams”, kindles hope and childhood recollections with references to fireworks and merry-go-rounds.

The harmonica returns with, “Four Strong Winds”, a waltzy diversion with a soft and subtle arrangement. “Wind In My Lungs”, is a simple ballad with a distant string arrangement that compliments the tune. With “Bastille Day”, Fraser then goes on to channel the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, with the piece sounding like any number of their tunes, but not corresponding to any one in particular.

“Neon Rappel”, is the highlight of the ballads from Buildings of Dreams. It starts gently with restrained strumming and breathy vocals, and progresses to a louder percussive approach in parts. For the closing number, “Acland Street”, Jay assumes his most obvious Melbourne accent in order to muse of St Kilda Beach and traffic jams on Fitzroy Street.

A fine effort all round.

Review Score: 7.5/10

Find out more about Jay Fraser below.