Dreaming Free

You can’t fake the warm feeling Chris Bartels gets on Dreaming Free, the full-band follow-up to an indie-folk solo effort he dropped in 2011. Collaborating with his wife and a group of good friends, the 25-year-old Minnesotan makes soft-focus synth-pop for young romantics and dreamers. Everything from the chiming guitars to the echoing vocals positively glows, and despite the bittersweet tinge of tunes like “Close Your Eyes,” Bora York aims to uplift. “I always wanted you to be part of my dreams,” Bartels sings on “New England Love,” one of many tracks he might have penned for an ’80s teen movie. If adulthood is just a continuation of high school, we may as well dwell in The Breakfast Club.


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