Harmony Dreamers’ I Come from Earth is a release unlike any other you’ll come across in 2022. This is something you can usually dismiss as public relations tomfoolery but, in the case of this collection, the puffery lives up to its billing. Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and vocalist Byron Lee Scott contributes a great deal to this project, of course, but I hesitate to call it his alone.
This is far from a solo effort. Scott reveals much of the underlying purpose of the collection by bringing multiple musicians into play. He’s recruited musicians from a head-spinning array of cultures, genders, and faiths, among their other unique qualities, to supply his songs with the performances that, in the end, help claim these musical moments as their own too. Scott and his cohorts are promoting a positive and wholesome message of inclusivity at a time when the world needs it more than ever.
“I Come to Earth”, the album’s title song, shows he has the flexibility for depicting it in a comical fashion. The real selling point of this particular track, however, is the near eye-popping musical arrangement Scott concocts for the cut. The rhythms, especially, will catch the ear and goad listeners to physically react. It’s an engaging, involving way to begin this album. Scott and the Harmony Dreamers shift gears without a sweat for the follow-up “Pass It On”. The second performance balances a loose and relaxed mood with a straighter trajectory than the opening song asked us to follow. It has a much softer and pop-oriented musical identity.
“You Don’t Have to Say It” emphasizes the pop side of Scott’s songwriting strengths without veering far afield of the identity they’ve thus far established. Some listeners may hear the vocals buried a bit in the mix but there’s no doubting that the focus of this release is the music. We shouldn’t dismiss the lyrics, however, and Scott’s words for this track are especially affecting without distracting from the song.
“Paro Paro Butterfly” is another of the finest cuts recorded for this project. It’s a thoroughly techno-driven track but doesn’t have the heavy-handed touch that defines crasser efforts in this vein. I’m a huge fan of the approach Scott and his collaborators take here – it’s synth pop wrought by a deft hand and never overwrought. The arguable centerpiece of the release is the multi-sectioned track entitled “Spinning ‘round the Sun”, but I can understand why some may roll into this song with uncertain feelings.
A song with multiple sections seems to cut against the relatively straight forward grain of the release until this point. “Spinning ‘round the Sun”, however, defies expectations and doesn’t sink under the weight of its own pretentiousness. The sheer diversity of the collection will win a lot of listeners over immediately and anyone more hesitant is advised to stick with it because there’s a lot here to “get”. Harmony Dreamers’ I Come from Earth, however, is worth every second and is a project well worth revisiting. It’s going to make Byron Lee Scott’s name, for sure.