UTG Track-By-Track: Dream Arcade


This morning UTG is proud to partner with fast-rising group Dream Arcade to reveal a complete track-by-track rundown of their new, self-titled EP.

Synth-pop has been a growing genre in recent years, and if our predictions are correct it will not be long before Dream Arcade is the talk of the scene. Hailing from Brooklyn, the music created by artist Dream Arcade, otherwise known as Mikel McCavana, evokes a spirit of youthful nostalgia through heartfelt atmospheric production. It’s like a Terrance Malick movie, only with a better grasp on the emotions it’s trying to express and far less out of focus nonsense.

Some are quick to write off creators of synth-pop because they believe the music is relatively empty, when in fact the thoughts and feeling being expressed often run deeper than the Charles River. Our hope is that this track-by-track will help better express the power of this genre to those unfamiliar, and encourage you to support Dream Arcade as soon as time and finances allow.

Fast Towards Heaven

While “Fast Towards Heaven” is definitely the most musically-upbeat tune on the EP, it focuses lyrically on a hard-to-swallow realization: that there are some old attachments that you can never fully move on from, as hard as you might try – that first love that you never really forgot; that grudge you never gave up; the parts of your old teenage self that you cover up like a shameful bruise. It’s those things you’re most afraid of revealing to other people that often say much more about you than anything you might willingly tell. “Fast Towards Heaven” is about being, unwittingly and unwillingly, under the magnetic hold of those strong past affections and memories long after you thought they had vanished.


“Safe” is an elegy to a past self, to the teenage years when you shed previous versions of your identity with frightening frequency in an attempt to outrun the impending stasis of adulthood, as if once you leave high school you’ll harden into the person that you’ll have to be for the rest of your life, whether you like it or not. If you’re a bookish nerd one day, there’s little preventing you from reinventing yourself into something else the next. This is mostly just adolescent exploration without long-term consequence, and while most of those changes are harmless, some are not. “Safe” is a song about coming to painful grips with the things you’ve changed about yourself that you can’t erase.

Things I’ve Lost

“Things I’ve Lost” is the EP’s most explicit description of returning one’s home years later after it’s undergone an irrevocable change. The song is a working-through of the conflicting feelings associated with any past notion of belonging. Buildings can rise and fall, friends and family move apart and away, and the town or city you once knew will inevitably refuse to stay the same for you or anybody else who would want to hold onto it as it once was. If there’s any kind of solace in this, though, it’s the knowledge that you, just like the place you once loved, aren’t a static entity yourself. Ultimately, it’s not just those places that have changed with time; it’s you who’ve changed too. So, at least in that way, you’ll always be traveling together, ever-changing: yourself, your home, and the things you’ve lost.

Chelsea Girls

For a brief, and admittedly weird, period of my life, I was leasing luxury apartments in Chelsea, a neighborhood in downtown Manhattan. This was, as you might imagine, not my ideal gig. What it did give me, though, was an insight into acute and tangible class distinctions I hadn’t been forced to deal with beforehand. (Just to give some perspective, one of these apartments was leasing for $29,000 a month. Yep, that’s not a typo.) So, of course, I had a lot of interactions with people so radically out of my league – financially, if not necessarily culturally – that it was impossible not to feel belittled or unimportant at times. “Chelsea Girls” is both a recognization and a rebuttal of those feelings of inadequacy.

Summer Salt

Written in the summer of 2011, “Summer Salt” is the oldest song on the EP, and unlike all of the other tracks, it’s about one specific person that I spent a single wonderful day with that summer and never saw again. After a lengthy bus ride back to my hometown the following day, I spent the whole next week heartsick and paralyzed. That week, I wrote “Summer Salt” to serve as a snapshot of a singular moment of longing when I felt like I was willing to do almost anything at all just to see that one person again. Maybe I will again someday.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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