Devin Shaffer “In My Dreams I’m There”

I’ve lost track of how many great records American Dreams has put out already this year, but Devin Shaffer’s In My Dreams I’m There may my favorite of the lot so far. In My Dreams I’m There is a perfect sonic escape from the drudgery we all experience. There’s a moment in “Carina Searches for Hollow Rock, North Carolina” – a recording of Shaffer and a friend outdoors, searching for hollow rocks (shocking, right?) where the conversation that unfolds is an encapsulation of In My Dreams I’m There as a whole. “You could fall right through,” Shaffer observes, to which Carina responds, “And that’s where you decided to put your feet. It means you’re flying. You like space underneath you.” There is no solid ground here, just the effervescent drift of future lives and alternative universes intertwined through magic, lilting in the firmament as a beacon for dreamers everywhere.

Shaffer’s music finds solace in different styles and spaces, but always spreads across illusory plains where she hovers, weightless and enchanting. Engrossing guitar patterns create a weblike foundation on the ethereal “Enemy.” Reverb-soaked tones shine under greyscale skies, Shaffer’s voice beaming celestial imagery where spires gleam in iridium and we can all fly with our solar wings. “I’m the one you need,” she beckons, calling all the acolytes home. 

In My Dreams I’m There is a showcase for the power music and sound has to transport listeners into totally new, magical spaces. Shaffer’s worlds offer respite and escape, but are also places for reflection and growth. On “Dreaming” as she sings about the ‘forest of green,’ a calm embrace washes through with angelic, harmonious vocal passages and contemplative chord changes. Earlier moments on the album that were filled with trepidation are replaced with contentment for what actually exists. There are always dreams to get lost in, but the acceptance of their fleeting nature opens new ways to find acceptance and hold on to hope. Shaffer’s vulnerability radiates throughout, but that raw honesty is beautifully crushing as she repeats, “I’m only dreaming” over waves of wordless, heavenly vocals. 

Our dreams can be mystical, but there’s even more allure to the magic that exists all around us. Finding serene fulfillment in the bird song and the wind rustling in the leaves can lead to new, golden pathways where dreams surround our waking moments. In My Dreams I’m There is a masterpiece with emotional heft and melodic charm that showcases Devin Shaffer as a true cosmic force. This is an incredible album and I can’t recommend it enough. 


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