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HONEYMOON SUITE
DREAMLAND

Frontiers/Now & Then FRCD 119
Produced by: Honeymoon Suite

Released: June 17 / Website
Closest Relative: Goo Goo Dolls
GENRE: Melodic Rock
OVERALL: 90%

  1. What I Know
  2. So Hard
  3. Still Lovin' You
  4. Just Love Somebody
  5. The Way I Do
  6. Dreamland
  7. Too Little, Too Late
  8. Gone
  9. Undone
  10. Lagavulin
  11. Radiant
  12. Even Now

Dreamland is the new European release Honeymoon Suite album.
This comes after the indie release of the 'other' HMS album Lemon Tongue late last year. Of the two records - this is the one to own. If fans didn't quite like what they read about the new modern approach of the band, then this album will suit you without question. And if you have already scored a copy of Lemon Tongue, there is more than enough on this release to make it an essential stand alone release.
This is still a step towards a more contemporary sound for the classic Canadian outfit, but being that a few tracks have been added/removed/rearranged, this album is a whole lot closer to the classic sound of old.
Three of the most grungy/modern tracks from Lemon Tongue are gone (Lemon Tongue, Don't Make Me Want You, Touch The Sun), as is the punkish Knew You When and the acoustic ballad Into Me Into You. 5 tracks out and 6 brought in. What an amazing difference a bit of tweaking can do.
I said in my Lemon Tongue review that this was the band moving on from their past...but with Dreamland that is only partially true.
The inclusion of some new tracks featuring the classic moody HMS melodic rock sound makes this album the perfect step forward while remaining faithful to ones past.
The mix of old and new now work well together, rather than against, with nothing on Dreamland sounding foreign to the band's classic sound.
New album Track by Track:
Now opening the album is What I Know a song that personifies the more modern edge of Honeymoon Suite 2002. It's darker, heavier and moodier, but has a heart of melodic gold. Johnnie's trademark crooning is still at play and while the band tune down their guitar sound and beef up the darker approach, the chorus is as catchy as Honeymoon Suite can be.
So Hard continues the dark and brooding approach, with soft and subtle verse leading into a more passionate guitar driven chorus, even if the pace is still subdued. Very catchy on multiple plays and inevitability becomes more familiar with age.
The inclusion of this 'new' track is a little cheeky. Still Loving You was a new studio track added to the band's 1989 The Singles compilation. Here it is the first of several added tracks. This is pure HMS heaven. Credited to long time band producer Jeff Hendrickson, the up-tempo ballad has a huge melodic chorus and additional hooks all over it.
Just Love Somebody is another new track, one of three that have been added to this album that I believe were recorded over the last couple of years, but culled initially for not retaining the modern sound of other songs. But they are back where they belong! This is a mid-tempo rocker with a typically catchy chorus and hard edge verse.
The Way I Do is a slow/mid tempo track with a good bridge and chorus, but not a great verse. Moody again and memorable for the chorus and duel electric/acoustic beat.
Dreamland is another classic Honeymoon Suite track. Another of the tracks recorded but not previously used, this has a wonderfully moody verse and another big heartfelt chorus.
Too Little Too Late is the third classic new track. No huge chorus, but melodies that grow with repeat listens.
Gone is Honeymoon Suite close to their classic roots, but moving forward in line with the modern elements of some tracks on this album.
Undone is another good modern song that grows. This track reminds me of the Goo Goo Dolls - acoustic guitar driven modern rock with an emotional and melodic chorus. In fact if the Goo Goo's had of released this, I have no doubt it would have got radio play. Still could!
Lagavulin is just awesome. It was one of my favourite off the Lemon Tongue release. This is the saddest, darkest and most emotionally moody tracks of this or any album. It's something new for the band, but the song is one of the most memorable of the album. Modern in it's sound, yet with some classic piano playing throughout the track.
Radiant is another new track - this one I have no idea where it came from, but it's sound suggests that it's from the more modern Lemon Tongue sessions. And you know what - this track has a killer chorus. Another modern rock/Goo Goo Dolls verse bursts into an even more Goo-ish anthem chorus, driven by acoustic guitars. Johnnie really changes his vocals for this one, but still sounds great.
Even Now finishes this album like Lemon Tongue was closed - with a ballad. And what a ballad. Lead by an acoustic intro, it's not long before the full band chime in and the lighters get raised into the air.
More modern sounding that classic Honeymoon Suite ballads, the chorus still takes us way back.
BOTTOM LINE: I am quite amazed how well this album works with it's track line up. Now the modern touches sound right at home and work for the benefit of the album's overall sound. This is still a modern-ish sounding record, but the classic sound is still there, more obviously on a few tracks. This album's songs seem to suggest that they were the bridge that lead to some of the more alternative numbers from the Lemon Tongue record that have now been discarded.
That album was good, but the songs that have been axed were the ones that really didn't fit the image of Honeymoon Suite in any era. The songs that have been added enhance the band's chances of moving forward without offending any classic fans.
This has gone from a maybe release with Lemon Tongue to an essential purchase of Dreamland for all HMS fans.
PRODUCTION: 85% SONGS: 94% VIBE: 90%ATTITUDE: 88%
ESSENTIAL FOR: All fans of the band and fans of Canadian melodic rock.
DISCOGRAPHY:Honeymoon Suite . The Big Prize . Racing After Midnight . Monsters Under The Bed . Singles . Lemon Tongue . Dreamland


01/01/06: TheSims - sims@yahoo.com
Rating: 90
I had 2 songs of Honeymoon suite back in 2000, i never heard a full album before so i bought this and was pretty amazed....it's GREAT!

some songs grows slowly, others are killer.

25/06/04: guillermo - guillerperez@usuariosderetecal.es
Rating: 75
UN album vulgar de buenas melodias y de buenos temas sin mas

19/01/04: Adam - Cabotime@netzero.net
Rating: 90
It's a HONEYMOON SUITE CD!! It's not THE BIG PRIZE but is is better than anything since. If you love HONEYMOON SUITE's vocal and guitar sound then that's all here. Buy it, listen to it a couple of times through and fall for it. Now if they would just tour the U.S. and do ALL their great songs, life would be perfect!!!

07/11/02: Neil - falkeeins
Rating: 93
Get your head out of your a** Ernie ..'I call it like I see it 'indeed...try opening your ears.....!!. Andrew has it spot on... one of my faves of 2002..sheer melodic brilliance with a new modern edge.....

25/07/02: Alliedforces - i280east@yahoo.com
Rating: 2
Ernie is right about this album. After the first song it like one big blurrrrrrrrrrrr. At not time does this album catch your attention with a great song. HMS is one of my favroite bands but this abum is not HMS we all know and love. Sorry guy but this one aint close................

17/07/02: Steve Cresswell - cresswell2@blueyonder.co.uk
Rating: 85
Frankly I'm pretty astounded at the previous reviews of this album! Maybe it's because I'm a fan of the Goo Goo Dolls as well as the classic eighties melodic rock scene that I think this is a superb album and rate it higher than others whose tastes remain entrenched in the eighties and only the eighties?!
The opener "What I Know" is an amazing track for me. It's both melodic and modern, with a great riff and great chorus. How could this track have not been mentioned as being superb by previous reviewers?!!! "So Hard" follows it up and is another melodic/modern gem, great stuff and then followed up "Still Lovin' You" a pure melodic cracker straight from the eighties which I'd never heard before and the album starts incredibly. If the whole album had continues like that I'd have been giving it a 100% rating!!!
Then we move into the more melodic tracks in the middle which are good but lack killer choruses for me. Surely huge choruses are normally the things which elevate melodic tracks above even the cool modern rock of today and I was a little disappointed with some of the tracks mid-album. However, later tracks like the very Goo Goo Dolls "Radiant" and huge chorus melodic masterpiece "Even Now" to finish always leave me feeling very good and satisfied that I've been listening to a great album!
The melodic stuff on this album is good and in places is excellenet and the modern rock stuff is fantastic, but I suppose if you're not into that then it might be a bit of a disappointing album. To these ears its a fantastic album that I'm totally chuffed to own and stick on regularly having purchased it at the Gods fest.

04/07/02: Tim Robertson - Tim.J.Robertson@GSK.COM
Rating: 80
As a huge fan of HMS I was dreading this release, having read all the reviews. However it is a bit of a pleasant surprise. The production and mix are quite weak, however the songs themselves are little different (although slightly more modern sounding) than on "Monsters....". I was dissappointed to see "Into Me, Into You" dropped from "Lemon Tongue", but love the addition of "Dreamland" and "Even Now". Best song has to be "The Way I Do" which is slightly reminiscent of "Long Way Back" from "Racing After Midnight". "The Big Prize" remains their best album to date, but "Dreamland" is a quality release and past fans should not be scared off.

29/06/02: Neil Higson - neil.higson@btinternet.com
Rating: 70
I have been a huge HMS fan since their first album and was excited when 'Lemon Tongue' arrived last year and even more excited by the deal with Now & Then which will give us the chance to hear future releases from this excellent outfit. Both 'Lemon Tongue' and 'Dreamland' (as they are so similar) give me the same feeling as listening to Giant 'III'- fantastic to have you back guys, but the tracks are not up to your previous quality releases. HMS (and Giant) are a class act and were wonderful at this years 'Gods' and I couldn't agree more with Andrew's gig review. I hope that now they have a multi album deal we will see more of them and hear some new releases that match their best work and reflect the music and style that made them so succesful in the first place. Here's to the future.

27/06/02: Lawrence Han - lfhlaw@yahoo.com
Rating: 75
While, I enjoyed reading that lambasting by Ernie, I'll rank the album based on what I hear and like. This is the 2nd release within a year by HMS. The first being Lemon Tongue. This contained a variety of music, some similar to old HMS and other stuff alittle punk or modern. The 2nd album Dreamland is much more like the old HMS stuff. Is it Great? Not really. the Title track is good and 'Even Now' is one track I enjoy. But Just love Somebody seems like a cast off from 'Monsters..' and 'Too Little, Too Late' just seems too off center for them. Adding 'Still Loving You' also seems to not fit on the album, however, it is still a good song. The Track order seems like they slapped the album together not thing through how they wanted to place the tracks. A couple of the songs that were dropped from Lemon tongue should have been kept for Dreamland. Among the 2 that were dropped, I liked 'Touch the Sun' and 'Into You, Into Me'. Though this CD gets heavy rotation in my car, all in all it's a fair CD and if you're a fan, you'll end up getting this too.

22/06/02: Ernie Manzo - garybarden@yahoo.com
Rating: 3
One of my all time favorite AOR bands has to this quintet from Canada. In the eighties they were awesome with all those great songs like ďThe Two of UsĒ from the Lethal Weapon soundtrack. The boys were big in their day but only put out one album out in the nineties that was reasonably mediocre but this might be worse, well is it worse. Personally I am sick and tired of hearing, so and so band got back together after 10 years or so and now they are better than ever-that is a bunch of BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rarely has a band been better when they reunite, maybe they can make you feel like you use to all those years ago but thatís it. Some reunions should never happen and this one falls into that category. On the whole the cd lacks the fire that made HMS so special. Each of the 1st three cds had songs that moved you or called on an emotion be it happy or sad but this cd is guilty of making me bored. It is just too slow and methodical to get excited about.

This cd is a waste of money and time. It was not easy write this since HMSís past work is still important to me. Sorry guys but I call them as I see them.


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