EP Review: SPACE DREAMS // Olivia Morreale

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SPACE DREAMS is the second EP from LA-based bedroom-pop artist Olivia Morreale, which comes three years after her debut EP Daytime Moon, released in 2018. While the names of the two records may imply that this EP is a natural follow up to its predecessor, Morreale’s debut stays mainly within the genres of jazz and soul, whereas SPACE DREAMS is a real step forward in her production into the realm of bedroom pop, R&B, and electronica.

However, Morreale—who was raised in New York and spent her teens in the city’s underground jazz clubs—hasn’t lost her roots. You can still hear these influences in the guitar-work and in her stunning vocals, which are reminiscent of the likes of Izzy Bizu or Corinne Bailey Rae.

The opening track and first single, ‘NO ANSWER’ provides a gentle start to the record, but also feels like a clear statement of intent for her new genre-blending style, as it is the EP’s most pop-based, electronic track. She produced the EP in close collaboration with songwriter and producer Eli Koskoff, and the instrumentation they’ve created together on this song is really effective, as her vocals are accompanied by a throbbing beat which is cleverly reminiscent of the thrumming tone you hear when you are waiting for someone to pick up your call.

The start of the following track, ’Another Moon’, initially feels like it’s going to turn into an indie-pop banger, but brings a pleasant surprise as the beat kicks in, bringing with it jazz-infused, jangling guitars. The lyrics are cheerful but still underpinned by a sense of longing and uncertainty: “We’ll be on another moon far away / Maybe on another moon we can make it”. This hints towards the question of whether the EP’s title refers to dreams of a parallel universe where she can be with the object of her affections.

This idea is continued in ‘Parasomnia’, the EP’s third track, which is named after a category of sleep disorders, which includes unusual behaviours prior to or during sleep, or while waking up. In the refrain, Morreale sings over a dark, moody beat: “I can’t stop saying your name, saying your name in my sleep / I can’t stop seeing your face, seeing your face in my dreams”.

The final track, ‘Matter Of Time’, is the only one that was not released as a single ahead of the EP, and is the most reminiscent of her older music; it’s a jazzy love song that shows off her powerful voice. Right at the end, there’s a clear shift as it slows down and takes on an ethereal, dream-like quality, with reverberating electric guitar and reversed vocals. This brings it back to feel more in keeping with the rest of the EP, which is littered with synthy, mechanical, and other-worldly noises.

Rather than simply being a collection of her best recent songs, it feels like an EP that was well thought out. The songs are very different to each other but still manage to seem linked thematically and lyrically, and tie together well. It’s a mellow, romantic listen, perfect for a warm summer evening.

SPACE DREAMS is out today (11 June).

Words by Maddy Parker


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