Earth To Dreamer
Add date: 5.14.2024
Release date: 5.17.2024

Apple Music
Official Website

From St. Louis/New York based band Whitworth comes the stellar debut LP, Earth To Dreamer.

Singer-songwriter and producer Owen Ragland builds upon a strong collection of singles and 2023’s Down to Earth EP as he stretches the bedroom pop palette to its lushest edges. Between choirs of synthesizers, deep drum grooves and eclectic stringed instrumentation, Ragland recounts stories of losing friends, finding love, and keeping dreams alive in a world where they often disappear. 

Earth To Dreamer doesn’t grapple with whether or not to imagine a brighter future, but rather how to. In Ragland’s words, “It’s the story of a young person learning to dream, but at times floating high enough that they can’t figure out how to come back down”. This manifests itself in artfully unadorned and universal lyrics- like any great pop song- that deal with the uneasiness of growth, the challenges presented by success and fame, and the desire to see through walls people tend to put up around themselves, including his own. The friction between youthful idealism and worldly doubt comes to a head in the title track: “Coping with the motion and the speed of now / Just when I thought I had it all figured out / My imagination brought me back to drown.” 

Start to finish, Earth To Dreamer brings the listener on a journey through an array of hypnotic musical states, landing them softly back where they started. This circular effect, not musically bound by any particular time or place, is evident in the tones and textures of the album. The recording and production simultaneously reflect the current solo-producer era, yet at times harken back to the full-band sonics of yesteryear, courtesy of drummer Dominic Mauro, bassists Julian Cotom and J.F. Nelson, and guitarists Elijah Melvin and Ross Spellman. Ragland’s utilization of both studio production and live instrumentation gives the feeling of finding a dusty pop record from the future in a time traveler’s crate. 

Lead single “World War” exemplifies this effect with a psychedelic pedal steel guitar introduction and a sanguine verse driven by sunny guitars and rolling bass. The optimism in the opening lines quickly fade into a bargain for peace: “You tell me I’m just history, you gun for me the most / but I am not your enemy my love, I hope you know,” Ragland proclaims as the band bottles up and shakes itself into a stadium-ready explosion. “Why We Have to Go” begins with delicate piano accompanied by a string section, a sound right at home with classic recordings in the Great American Songbook. Just as quickly as they came, the piano and violins (provided by Blake Hernton) give way to crushing drums, fuzz bass, and neo-soul guitar under Ragland’s forthright vocals. “Purple Cotton Haze”, the album’s most uptempo offering, has a groove that is at once graceful and caustic, giving collaborator/vocalist Chloe Berry the solid foundation from which she floats into space. 

Like the mind of the Dreamer himself, Earth To Dreamer is its own universe. Lyrical and sonic cross references between tracks give continuity to an experience not unlike one you’d have in deep sleep: connections are lost, holes in the story are innately understood, and it’s all over long before you want it to be. Releasing independently in May 2024, Earth To Dreamer is at once an introduction to and fully-formed showcase of Whitworth’s fantastical take on pop music.