After independently releasing two EPs (2016’s ‘Open Letters’ and 2014’s ‘Carry The Fire’), Jeremy Tuplin has expanded his stripped-back ‘space-folk’ on his debut album ‘I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut’. Recorded with long-time collaborator Mark Estall in his living room and the Marketstall Studio in Bermondsey, the full-length record gives more breathing room for Jeremy to explore the corners of his musical cosmos.
The richly-textured opener ‘Albert Einstein Song’ begins with soft marching drums that lead gently to poignant piano and heartbreaking strings – it’s a captivating introduction before a note has even been sang. Jeremy’s distinct vocals are at the heart of the album’s warmth and as he begins to sing about the energy of David Bowie and the science of Albert Einstein, it’s a put down your drink/mobile-phone/pet and listen moment. The mysteries of the universe run through the soul of the record, with ‘Where the Light Ends’ featuring radio chatter from space missions, ‘Robot Love’ a thrilling alternative campfire soundtrack for the movies Her and Ex-Machina, and ‘Astronaut’ discussing lost childhood dreams of space exploration.
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Sonically the record is often laid-back and sparse, allowing the directness and powerful tone of his vocals to shine through, such as on the lo-fi number ‘Anybody Else’ that lets Tuplin’s trip of the tongue lyrics stumble warmly into your ears or with the girl/boy combinations on ‘Did We Lose The Fight?’. While most tracks lean towards the melancholic, the pace quickens on folk-punk number ‘O Youth!’, while ‘Feel Good Hit’ showcases a more playful side with it’s dancing bass and lyrics concerning puppies who can’t play the piano. When putting together the album, Jeremy was looking to pinpoint a retro-futuristic sound, and the mixture of stripped-back acoustic guitar with electronic haunting synths creates a record that wouldn’t sound out of place in 1967, let alone 2017.
With so many of the tracks wrapped up within visions of the solar system and planets afar, it’s no surprise that escapism is another key theme that seeps through the writing, whether that’s running away from friends, partners of jobs. Two of the album’s stand-out tracks are both wonderful examples of candid storytelling, from the overwhelmingly sad love letter ‘Kathleen’ to the beautiful ‘Time’s Essence’, where Jeremy ruminates on our own mortality and the passing of time.
On paper Jeremy Tuplin isn’t reinventing the wheel, but what sets him apart from other singer-songwriters is his ability to create richly-textured, crackling soundscapes that absorb his lush and booming vocals to superb effect. ‘I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut’ is an album that combines simple storytelling, with poetic deductions on the wonders of the universe – a perfect companion piece to watching repeats of The Sky At Night.
‘I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut’ is out now on Folkwit Records.