Up and coming pop musician Dylan Gardner looks like he could be the fifth member of The Beatles. He exudes Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) vibes with slicked back dark hair and a button up. Gardner has an old school aura with a pop rock fusion sound that places him into today’s music scene.
Gardner’s debut album, Adventures in Real Time, was released on May 13, 2014. The album is an eclectic mix of songs. The singer, songwriter’s first album ticks several genre categories including pop, rock, and indie/alternative.
Gardner’s instrumental ability is impressive. He grew up playing guitar and his motivation to the music craft definitely shines through on this record. He helped to produce it, which is commendable for a seventeen year old.
As for vocals, my ear did not take to the teen’s tune immediately; though, eventually I caught on to the Drake Bell and Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) tones in Gardner’s voice. He has a gift for writing catchy lyrics. Every song on Adventures in Real Time is youthful and fun. Middle and high school students definitely would gravitate towards this album.
The best track on the album is “Let’s Get Started.” It’s energetic, and his vocals are their best when Gardner sings faster, up-tempo songs. It’s a feel-good song with a catchy melody, which makes you tap your foot and bob your head. “I’ll be John and you’ll be Yoko, Sit back and watch our love grow,” are just some of the genius lyrics.
“Let’s Get Started” was the singer’s breakout song. It has hit over two million plays on Spotify, and it’s no wonder. For any young artist looking to get a foot in the door, an attention grabbing song is the deal breaker. This song for Gardner was his golden ticket, and now what he does from here is up to him. With “Let’s Get Started,” Gardner displays his artistry, and as a first hit song, it showcases his passion, drive, and potential.
“I think I’m Falling for Something” and “I’m Nothing Without You” are catchy as well and keep the listener engaged. They also nicely display Gardner’s range. Many of the songs are a bit flat vocally, but with a mix of high notes, Gardner gets it done.
The only track that didn’t quite make sense to me was “Sing for the Stars.” It was too pop oriented and didn’t mesh well with the rest of the album. The song reminded me of something I would hear from One Republic, which the rest of Gardner’s album does not reflect.
Since the majority of the tracks are upbeat, “The Actor” is a refreshing break in the track list. This slow song with beautiful instrumentals pleasantly takes a step back from the cheerful and slightly repetitive tone of the rest of the album.
Whether or not Gardner’s voice appeals to me, he definitely has talent and I have feeling that his next album will be even better. I’d like to hear what his voice sounds like in five years. Given time, I believe his sound will mature, leading to a transition into a more Arctic Monkeys sound and vibe that would appeal to a larger audience.
Adventures in Real Time is certainly worth a listen. Whether you’re alone in your car or hanging out with friends, this lively album will put anyone in good spirits.