Bland and predictable but with jazzy flashes of excitement
If you wanted to stick Dawn's music into a box (not hard to do) - it would go in with other popular female singer-song writers which have caused such an underwhelming media stir in this country's music scene over the past few years - Katie Melua, Adele, Ellie Goulding and so on. 'Wrong Side of the Dream' is mostly an album of unremarkable, radio-friendly laid back pop melodies.
Ms. Kinnard has a not unpleasant, gravelly voice that the press materials describe as "smoke and honey" - but you could call it 'character-ful,' or 'distinctive' with a 'Macy-Gray-with-a-bit-of-tonsilitis' sort of quality, particularly evident when Dawn semi-speaks vocals in slightly sinister tracks like 'Death is a Shark'. If you can work your ears around the sandpaper vocals, which aren't as grating when Dawn is in full voice, you may hear some easy going, un-astonishing, melodic pop tracks with nothing too interesting going on; tracks like 'Indescribably Blue','Favourite Ghost' and 'Japan'.
'Bicycle' touches upon something a little more interesting a gypsy pop sway with a bit of smokey, New York street corner jazz. 'The Silence Is Not What It Seems' is a stripped down, traditional sounding folk tune with strong male vocal part. 'Are You Still Crazy About Yourself' is another dark cabaret show tune with a touch of the sinister. Dawn's voice really settles in at home over sauntering blaring brass, cello and bluesey bass but there's just not enough of it on the album.
It seems a stretch towards the mainstream has forced this artist to include a bit of everything, to unremarkable effect. This is, overall, a dull and predictable pop album, but what it has got going for it is that it's less dull and less predictable than many other popular albums with watered down genres. It's got gypsy rhythms, jazzy moments, and atmospheric tracks - and - I say begrudgingly because I would love to dismiss this as shallow cheese - it's got heart; and it's independently released. But I just think Dawn and band could do so much more with their sounds, and take those distinctive jazz quirks a little bit further.