Like her previous work, Dreamworld presents colliding genre influences, eclectic covers, and whimsical notions. The difference is that Rearick sticks mostly to voice and cheap keyboards. She revels in the latter's goofy vibrato and tinny percussion sounds, relying on loops to flesh out the songs.
"I wanted to start trying to use beats occasionally, dug out the old Casio and started playing around with it, and that's what came out," Rearick says. "It also became really addictive to play that way and helped organize my brain for more complex kinds of work."
Dreamworld's melodies often feel splashy and playful, yet they repeat and interlock with precision because of the loops. "Skin" begins with a really simple keyboard phrase, then throws chords and slightly dissonant notes into the mix. Rearick's vocals are also looped, and thus become integral to the song's cheerful rhythm. As the various parts stack up, the lyrics even begin to play with the idea of layers: "There's one way to skin an onion/Peel the layers/One by one until/You reach the bottom/Of its heart."
What ultimately keeps Dreamworld engaging is the way Rearick makes the most of simple sounds. Her high, flighty voice can feel faint in the ambitiously arranged work on previous albums, but here the loops help it feel more substantial. And while every track uses Casios, the album makes them sound warm and charming rather than chintzy.
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