You know those albums that come into your life during times of transition? ...the ones that feel like they play such an intrinsic role in your experience and ability to navigate the emotions in your world that they become almost like a living thing to you? That was what Please Hold by The Corey Hotline was for me.
So, when Dream Phone came out it had a lot to live up to. In a lot of ways, I think that is why this sophomore album has felt a little like a sleeper record to me. I think I needed to allow myself to make friends with it gradually. This will absolutely not be everyone’s experience with the album, but it is mine and I am happy to invest because it is only becoming richer, more whitty, and flavourful with each listen. I know from experience that The Corey Hotline is always more than worth my time.
We open with “Lost Dog”, a metaphor for the dynamic between people in a relationship. It is a lovely taste of The Corey Hotline recipe of pairing thought provoking lyrics with easy on the palate rhythms and sounds. Kind of a cloaking mechanism of sorts, which you will be familiar with if you know the band.
Following is “Slow Dance”, which is so sweeping and romantic I immediately felt the need to share it with my partner.
One of the things I appreciate a ton about albums by The Corey Hotline is the willingness to shift gears quickly between songs. So, we go from a dreamy af song to “Calgary (You’re Killing Me)”. This one…oh my. It is fairly obvious that I am very invested in Calgary. I was born here, grew up here, have been hoping and wishing and trying to participate in making this city more progressive and diverse artistically, socially, environmentally…we could go on. So, this one hits home in a big way. Thank you to the band for going there. However, given the absolute gems of forward thinking human beings that comprise the band I cannot say I am surprised you did.
“Dirtbag Beauty Queen” has been out as a single for a while so this one personally gave the effect of those songs you feel pumped about when seeing a band live because you know all the lyrics and are into the energy. “Tough Girls” was similar in a way for me because I have seen it performed live a number of times, which brings back lovely memories.
My most anticipated song on the album was “Grave Diggin’ Love”. I saw Mason Jenkins perform this solo at The Ironwood some time back and felt very invested immediately in it being a song that should be getting air play. To hear this track at a different pace and with more instrumentals and voices was a treat. Not to mention the brilliant transition that follows.
We get the distinct pleasure of moving from graveyard imagery that conjures up full music video visuals in the mind, directly to crunchy guitar and bouncy vocals about a beloved “Chevy Astro”. The Corey Hotline can pivot from soul searching sadness laden violin, mourning a relationship death, to an ode to a personified vehicle pretty organically, which is not only a hallmark of the band, but pretty fascinating. As noted above…those gear shifts!
And then we finish with “Wanna Be In Love”, rife with pop culture references yet critical of its sincerity. Always sassy, the sound feels ironic in this closing track.
Overall Dream Phone eloquently embodies The Corey Hotline as a band – a beautiful dichotomy of leather jackets, pink leopard print, misbehaviour, and true romance…maybe without all the bullets. And can’t forget the delish 90s board game reference, in keeping with not only The Corey's phone theme but the applicable sensations of elation in being head down into an all-consuming crush.
Dream Phone was released January 27, 2022 and The Corey Hotline is Mason Jenkins (guitar, vocals), Harvey Hinton (bass), and Cat Alcorn (drums).
Stream the album on Spotify, buy it on bandcamp (support the band), or visit the Corey Hotline on socials: