Billy Ulrich sought a dream. This dream was not, apparently, having brunch with Natalie Portman or jamming on stage with Bob Dylan like the comically untalented Mumford and Sons. His dream was almost paradoxically simple-make music and let people listen in on the fun. This included songs of love, songs of getting past the hard times, songs of working hard for little return, and songs of dreaming, no less. Billy Ulrich is the creative mastermind behind Post Trauma. Like Billy Corgan’s metaphorical odysseys, Post Trauma paints a sensible picture of adventure and intrigue. Like Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame before him, Ulrich cleverly plays emotional pull strings to full effect, finding a tender modicum of heartfelt pop arrangements. But this isn’t all cheeky emotional bullshit. Post trauma implements piano-driven melodies, harmonica duets, and some rambunctious guitar wailing for a concoction of sophistication and blissful play.
Post Trauma is unveiling his adventurous double album ‘Sleepless, Dreamless.’ Each disc represents one side of the touching nighttime adventures of dreaming. This idea of dreams courses through nearly every aspect of the music. Fun ditties hop and bound like uplifting dreams of dancing on clouds and picket fence homes by the beach. His dreams showcase an undying love, a love essentially unheard of in reality, but rampant and admirable in the confines of the dream.
But dreams turn sinister…dark, even evil. Post Trauma never reminds us of this. These nightmares are nonexistent in his painted dream world.
In its raw form, Post trauma is country-pop, but done far better and more memorable than the haphazard work of, say, a contrived American Idol-alum. Ulrich seems to float along in a level of sheer professional instrumentation, appealing to the hopeful Middle America with a fun class-A approachability. Tracks such as ‘End in Friend’ recall joyous times with friends, and the conclusion of the bromance. ‘I Get High’ is a slower jam, channeling a more soft-reggae tone. Instead of promoting Ulrich’s apparent previous drug use, he sort of lampoons it in a cloud of indifference that shrouded his previous adventures in, well, anything. He’s the sophisticated one, for what it is worth.
Songs of love lost run through the album ‘Sleepless’ (the first half of the epic, ‘Dreamless,’ is some time away from release) is the obvious beginning to a talented career, a culmination of Ulrich’s adventures in dreams and exploration. He attempts various sounds to full effect, and forgives the grim reality of the everyday for a chockfull fun journey into the world of dreams. And considering Ulrich is, in fact, exploring his own very real dreams with his musical incarnation ‘Post Trauma,’ it seems even he is merging the line between reality and imagination. Funny how we came to that. Maybe ‘Sleepless, Dreamless’ really is all about life.
Where to find Post Trauma:
Ryan Merkel is a cool writer guy and contributor all over the internet, from blogs on music to magazines about music to sites about playing music. He is currently founder of SunState Investing and is head editor of the music entertainment magazine, CultureTease. He has written two novels, and is currently working on a third full-length novel, surprisingly, not about music. His novel “Splatter the Noise” earned accolades for independent publishing. Be sure to check out: www.sunstateinvesting.com
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