The Committee for Sound & Mind · February 21, 2020
In their third studio album Dreamland, COIN maintains their upbeat indie pop sound while diving deep into serious topics such as heartbreak, loss, and struggling to know yourself. The energy they possess throughout all 14 tracks is one that inspires their listeners to let themselves simply feel. Despite the many challenges that life presents, Dreamland reminds us that we are not alone.
“Simple Romance,” “Cemetery,” “I Want It All,” “Crash My Car,” “Let It All Out (10:05),” “Youuu,” and “Valentine” were all released as singles between 2018 and 2020 prior to the album’s release. However, when listened to within the context of the full album, each track helps to create a cohesive narrative.
The first few songs of the album are simple. They are anthems about romance and how loving someone can feel easy when in reality it is complicated. In “I Want It All,” Chase Lawrence’s vocals feel honest as he declares “I know your heart’s still beating / And I want it all, I want it all / Or nothing at all.” He is ready to give everything he has to the person he loves, even if it hurts him in the end.
“Dreamland Sequence,” the album’s first of two interludes, introduces feminine vocals, string instruments, and an airy sound that juxtaposes the edgier songs preceding it. It leads into the album’s more serious songs in which Lawrence sings of pain and loss.
In “Cemetery,” Lawrence wonders if money is more important than happiness. He tells his listeners that the richest man in the cemetery “built a kingdom out of salt and blood,” alluding to the white and red colors of COIN’s first two album covers. The kingdom he refers to is likely COIN’s fanbase, which continues to grow especially after their release of Dreamland.
“Youuu” and “Valentine” both deal with the darker sides of relationships. In the former, Lawrence begs his ex-partner not to move on, singing, “She moves just like you / And she tastes just like you / But it’s always been you.” The song features synth instrumentals that seamlessly mesh with Lawrence’s vocals.
About the latter, Lawrence told Substream Magazine, “There’s an overarching theme of committing yourself to something so much you let it hurt you, I know that sounds maybe kinda backwards but there’s something so beautiful and it’s such a power in losing control and just submitting to the feeling so that song comes from that.”
Despite dealing with more serious issues, COIN never loses sight of their original indie roots. Many of their tracks are instrumentally creative, while maintaining an 80s pop feel. Lawrence sings about being conflicted emotionally; he wants and doesn’t want change at the same time.
“Lately III” calls back to “Lately” from their first self-titled album COIN, and “Lately II” from their second album, How Will You Know If You Never Try. All three songs offer a different perspective about the loss of Lawrence’s nephew. In this addition, he attempts to come to terms with the loss while also feeling guilty about moving on.
The second and final interlude of the album, “Heaven Hearted,” comes just before the final track. In it, a distorted voice repeats, “Oh, tell me if it’s real” and finally commands “Rearrange me.”
As the album comes to an end, it is clear that Lawrence has not solved the problems he is facing. Instead, he is accepting those difficulties and using them to push forward in life. “Let It All Out (10:05)” features an acoustic guitar and choir-like vocals against an electronic background. Somewhere in the disorder, the members of COIN as well as their listeners fnd clarity. “Every move you make is apocalypse,” he declares to those dancing along with him.