Hemisphere is a band from San Diego, USA. Formed of Rob Shinno, Don Bowman, Michael McQuilken, Nate Brown and Max Zape. On October 1st 2020, they released their first album in over 20 years titled “American Dreams”. What did we think? Here goes!
Now there are many bands making serious waves with the 80s-revival. Hemisphere’s “American Dreams” sounds like something hidden from 1989. Musically speaking, the album is incredibly tight and really has a great west-coast vibe, it is beautifully mixed and mastered throughout. In terms of the instrumentals, it is solid. Where this album falls short are the vocals, melodies and lyrics that make this album sound like a parody of itself. Examples of this can be found towards the end of the first track “America”, “Home”. To be fair to Hemisphere, “Transmission” (in our opinion) is the best track of the album but the only place where it falls short is when they start naming social media platforms – that just felt cringey.
Obviously a lot of hard work and time was put into this release and as we’ve said – the music itself is brilliant but we can’t vibe with the vocals. The backing vocals are excellent and are a saving grace. There are some serious Tears For Fears textures flowing through some of the tracks (listen to the last minute or two of “Home”, you’ll see what we mean) and the lead vocals do have some good moments but for the most part it, narrowly, falls short.